Groups: Expunge 100 'anti-health' proposals from budget

PM Netanyahu and Finance Minister Steinitz have already backed down to impose NIS 50 per day for being hospitalized.

By
May 13, 2009 11:05
1 minute read.
steinitz speaking 298 88 aj

steinitz speaking 298 88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

 
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Social and healthcare advocacy organizations have issued a position paper accusing the government of trying to withdraw from its responsibility for the population's health. Physicians for Human Rights, the Adva Center and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel jointly demanded on Tuesday that the 100 proposals in the Treasury's Economic Arrangements Bill related to healthcare be canceled. Under intense pressure, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz have already backed down from their proposal to impose a NIS 50-per-day tax for being hospitalized. But the NGOs said the proposal to allow the establishment of a fifth health fund that would be for-profit would cause wealthy, healthy and young members to leave the existing health funds. In addition, homemakers who do not work outside would have to pay health taxes even though they earn less than NIS 2,800 a month. The Treasury also wants to charge value added tax on fruits and vegetables, which are currently exempt. Barbara Swirsky, head of the Adva Center, said that making such important and harmful structural changes in health institutions and services should be discussed - if at all - individually by Knesset committees and not en bloc as required in the Arrangements Bill. The NGOs also balked at the proposal to reduce the NIS 415 million increase in the basket of health services by the NIS 40m. that the Health Ministry is spending on purchasing Tamiflu anti-viral drugs to cover nearly a third of the population against swine flu. They also opposed the Netanyahu government's attempts to evade the previous government's commitment to allowing the building of a general hospital in Ashdod.

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