Health Ministry 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Health Ministry is under fire from the Knesset Economics Committee for failure to compensate the companies to which it owes money.
Following criticism by MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) on Wednesday, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said: “Within three weeks, we will submit to the committee an outline for compliance with the law.” The law requires payments 30 days after the last day of the month.
The Finance Ministry liaison for health issues, Oren Geva, claimed that in order to comply, a one-time injection of NIS 2 billion would be required.
Litzman said, however, that the health funds receive payments four times a month from the National Insurance Institute, which collects health taxes. Litzman said the estimate of NIS 2b. was “exaggerated.”
The committee held an urgent meeting to discuss whether to include the health system in the legal requirement – passed by the committee six months ago relating to the rest of the economy – that those who receive goods and services be required to pay by the last day of the month, plus 30 days.
MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union), who ran the meeting, said this was one of the most important laws the committee had dealt with.
Cabel added that the ministry, when asked to comply, “did not take it seriously and even treated us like a nuisance.”
Ro’i Cohen, president of the Israel Association of Independent Entrepreneurs and Business Organizations, said the health system often demands 180 or even 230 days of credit. “With all due respect to the financial distress of the system, these small businesses must be paid in a timely manner.”
He added that the health system is responsible for 30% of all the payments made to suppliers in Israel and must be required to pay within 30 days of the last day of the month in which supplies were provided.
Michael Shafir, a medical equipment importer, said that the small businesses had become a state bank and said: “The health system says that we will receive the money 30 days plus – with the help of God.”