A government bill seeking to fine patients who miss doctor’s appointments passed its first reading in the Knesset Monday, amid outrage from the opposition.
The bill, which passed by a majority of 23-16, would fine patients NIS 10 for every appointment that they miss.
“Every MK who voted for this bill should be embarrassed,” complained MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima). “It is embarrassing to think that the government is passing such a stupid bill. Shas, which represents the weakest sectors of society, should know who is being hurt by this bill – at their expense the state wants to make money?”
Sheetrit complained that it was unreasonable that patients be fined, while there is no penalty for doctors whose appointments run hours late.
The bill proposes that the fine not be imposed on patients who notified regarding their absence at least one day in advance, or who are found to have a legitimate justification for missing the appointment. Serial appointment-missers, however, can take comfort in the fact that the bill also proposes that the total fines imposed in a three-month period not exceed NIS 50.