Health Minister Yael German 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
Health Minister Yael German said Sunday during the first session of the National
Health Council under her chairmanship that despite the serious deficit status of
the public medical system, she will insist that service to the patients be
improved, with more respect and compassion.
“We want to put the patient –
the customer – in the center.”
German, a former mayor of Herzliya who has
spent the last two months intensively learning the inner workings of the health
system, said she will set up a committee on strengthening public
She originally thought of appointing a senior economist to head
it, but in the end she decided to chair it herself, she said, “because I am
responsible for implementation.”
Among her urgent aims, besides adding
financial resources to the health system, are to reduce the gaps in healthcare
between the haves and have-nots, which are very significant today, and to
To increase public information on health funds, the
basket of health services, supplementary health insurance and other matters, the
ministry will prepare a comparative website so that residents will be aware of
their rights and what their insurer offers them.
director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu told the council, many of whose members are
new, that the indices of medical expenditures and others have been redesigned by
the ministry after consultation with experts to make compensation to the
hospitals and health funds more fair and systematic.
However, a number of
health fund representatives complained that the budget proposals, the
Arrangements Bill and the extra one percent value-added tax (VAT) will take back
much of what the providers would gain by the changes of indices.
agreed that the health system is on a starvation diet, with the population
growing and aging, and that shortages will continue to exist.
said that the four health funds will have NIS 800 million more at their disposal
in 2016, the representatives of the health funds and others noted that much of
the additional resources for health will be eroded by higher payments that the
health funds – already deep in debt – will owe, including higher
Prof. Gabi Bin-Nun, a health economist at Ben- Gurion University,
opened the members’ eyes by pointing out that the planned tax on non-employed
housewives will go directly to the Treasury and not expand the funds for the
health system, even though the excuse for the tax was that they have not paid
health taxes because they are not working. Bin- Nun called the extra payment “a
regressive head tax” and demanded that the idea be scrapped.
it was agreed, after a major fight with the Treasury, that the basket of health
services will be expanded by NIS 300 million annually over the next three years,
although it will not be increased beyond that.