“Unfortunately, the Israeli health system does not interest the average
politician,” Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman wrote on
Monday in a position paper three weeks before the 19th Knesset
“The old lady [now lying in a bed in the hospital corridor] is
not the same old lady, but the corridor is the same. The number of hospital beds
per capita still puts Israel way behind the developed world; the health basket
[of medicines and technologies] cries out for proper expansion and the medical
staff are overwhelmed by the burden,” Eidelman said.
He added that by
comparison, the health system is a prime public issue in the US.
its great importance, the health field has not been prominent or even explicitly
mentioned in any election campaign since the establishment of the state,” he
In fact, the head of the Knesset’s Health Lobby, Dr. Rachel
Adatto – a Kadima MK, joined The Tzipi Livni Party but was placed No. 16 on the
candidates list, probably too low for her to enter the next Knesset.
IMA sent a 12-page document explaining the critical issues facing the health
system to all the parties running in the election.
They include the need
to increase the number of medical (and nursing) students; continuing to invest
in medical infrastructure in the periphery; properly budgeting the four public
health funds with more Treasury money in addition to health taxes; annually
increasing the health basket by an automatic 2 percent; strengthening public
medicine, with supplementary health insurance policies allowed for use in public
hospitals as well as private ones; reforming the psychiatric system; and
promoting reform in geriatric nursing care.
The IMA document also called
on the government to more vigorously discourage violence against medical
staffers, and to promote prevention of disease, and health education.