(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The index of Israeli medical service costs is galloping forward, risking the
“Americanization” of healthcare to unaffordable levels at a time when the
state’s share in funding these services has declined to just 57 percent,
according to a new report by the Taub Center for Social Policy
The report was authored by Prof. Dov Chernichovsky, head of the
health policy program at the Jerusalem center; Dr.
Ronni Gamzi, a member
of the center’s health policy program before he became Health Ministry
director-general; and Dr.Guy Navon of the Bank of Israel.
29-page report, released for publication on Thursday, states that the
in costs has been “malignant,” and that increased investment in medical
per capita had almost been “erased” by the higher index of medical
Eight percent of the gross domestic product goes to health
services, while they constitute 5% of household expenses.
The team wrote
that Israel’s hyperinflation of the 1980s “left a deep psychological
approaching paranoia” on economic decision-makers. While low inflation
legitimate state target, they wrote, it has not occurred in medical
the state is funding less and less of healthcare spending, leaving the
to pay out of pocket for a growing number of services, the rise in
is placing a heavier burden on the individual, the report states.
index of medical services increased by 35% between 1995 (when the
Health Insurance Law went into effect) and 2008, wrote the Chernichovsky
The citizen’s out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare increased by
18% during that period, and continue to rise. Thus, they wrote, Israel
adopting the unsuccessful US model and abandoning that of 22 advanced
such as Canada and France, in which diseases and medical technologies
similar to Israel’s but public funding has increased.
Thus, even though
Israel’s health system has shown impressive advances since 1995, it is
of negating them because of growing costs to individuals and the
private medicine, they wrote.
As US President Barack Obama has launched a
reform of the US healthcare system and will spend more federal and state
on it, the trend there will be for lower out-of-pocket expenses – while
is going in the opposite direction, according to the report.
increasingly lead to failures in the public healthcare system,
for private medicine, which is already encouraged by supplementary
insurance. More public healthcare doctors will leave for private medical
institutions, the authors of the report predicted, thus worsening
public hospitals and health fund clinics.
Private institutions will
invest capital in technologies and services parallel to those in the
system – a waste of resources, inefficient and lacking in managed care
principles, the team wrote. The public will spend more on healthcare but
any more services.
Equity and accessibility will decline, according to
the report, which warns that this is what happened to the US in recent
Even though US medical technology has been very good, accessibility to
healthcare by the lower socioeconomic sectors declined and left many
This means that health indicators of the US public declined. The same,
said, could happen here.
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