Private payments for health services in Israel have reached 40 percent of expenditures, with only 60% covered by public sources – compared to an OECD average of 28% for private expenditures and 72% for public expenditures.
These figures are “worrisome,” the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
Although a committee established over a year ago and headed by Health Minister Yael German was promised by the Treasury two months ago that some NIS 1 billion would be added to health budgets so that reform could be carried out, it doesn’t seem a sure thing. The costs of Operation Protective Edge are biting into the budget that the Finance Ministry promised. The Health Ministry has not issued any statement on money for the reform, except to say: “We are trying.”
The reform was supposed to change private health insurance, reduce queues for medical procedures in public medical institutions and make other changes to strengthen the public health system.
The National Council for Research and Development in the Science, Technology and Space Ministry expressed concern that 53% of all medical research money allocated to hospitals came from abroad, with only 7.8% from state sources. This statistic, together with the fact that a growing share of health services is paid for out of private pockets rather than the public purse, indicates that the Treasury is less and less interested in financing health and medical research.
Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Statistics said that in 2012, the amount of money obtained by the general hospitals from outside interests for medical research rose to NIS 431 million, a 43% increase over the figure of NIS 301.7m. three years earlier. These studies received full or partial funding from sources outside the hospitals or internal research money within the hospitals.
Of the NIS 431m., 43% involved government- owned hospitals, 40% involved health-fundowned hospitals and the rest voluntary hospitals. A total of 53% of the medical research funding came from institutes abroad, while 30% was provided by commercial sources.
Government hospitals were less successful in 2012 than in 2009 in getting external research grants, and the figure fell from 56% to 43% of funding, while external funding for research at Clalit Health Services- owned hospitals increased from 29% to 40% and at voluntary hospitals from 15% to 17% during that period.