(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Although Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has described the budget bill for 2011/12 as an accomplishment, others criticized it – even though many details, including those of the arrangements bill, are not yet clear.
Opponents said they hoped changes would be made by the Knesset to make the budget “less harmful” to the health system.
Litzman on Friday said that for the first time, the Treasury would give
an additional NIS 40 million for the health budget and a 1.2 percent
annual increase in funding of the health funds as compensation for
demographic changes, including the aging of the population and
However, instead of the basket of medications and medical technologies
expanding by NIS 415m. per year, as had happened in the last two years,
the basket will grow by only NIS 300m. a year over the next three years.
The Health Ministry said that by 2013, children up to the age of 14 –
and not eight years as today – will get free or subsidized dental care.
Litzman said that the Treasury and the Health Ministry had agreed on
additional funded hospital beds in various parts of the country, but no
details were given. Health experts charge that thousands of beds are
needed, as well as slots for doctors and nurses.
The deputy minister also said that more money would be allocated to
develop hospital infrastructure that will be delivered to the
psychiatric hospitals, but no figures were divulged. The ministry will
also begin to implement a plan for reinforcing hospitals against missile
and rocket attacks and allocate money to boost hospitals in the
Here too, no figures were provided.
The Israel Medical Association, which admitted it had too few details
about the proposed budget, said Sunday that what has been decided “is
not a solution to the major problems of the health system such as the
lack of physicians and nurses, hospital beds and the periphery.”
In addition, an annual NIS 300m. increase in the basket – which
apparently also includes new vaccinations – is too small to meet the
needs of the public, the IMA said.
“We will continue to struggle so that the MKs insist on changes in the
health budget,” it said. “We are very disappointed.”
Kadima MK Rachel Adatto – long an opponent of Litzman – said that the
ministry was misleading the public. Instead of a 2% updating of the
basket that the coalition parties promised before the last election, the
government intends to cut its expansion, said Adatto, a physician.
The addition of NIS 300m. a year will be the lowest expansion in the
last five years, she said.
“The Treasury succeeded in a psychological exercise to broadcast a
feeling of lack of clarity and certainty about the basket.
Thus the cut was received with relief by a number of elements, including
the pharmaceutical companies, which had expected an even larger cut,”
The reduction in the basket expansion will be transferred totally to
increasing the age groups for child dental care, she said.
“But this dental reform is currently in the legislative stage, and the
health funds, which are due to provide the dental care, do not yet have
the necessary infrastructure to carry it out. In addition, there is no
mechanism for supervising this reform and measuring quality that will
prevent the reform from becoming another Wisconsin Program for reducing
unemployment [which was halted by the Knesset after being found
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