dentist illustrative 311.
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
The December 1 deadline for the Health Ministry to approve the establishment of
a corporate body of private (non-health fund) dentists to supply subsidized care
for children up to eight years old has passed.
In July, after basic
dental care for such children was added to the basket of health services, the
health funds began giving the treatment, but the Israel Dental Association,
which is comprised mostly of private dentists, protested that they had been
The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee held a
session on Wednesday to discuss the issue. The ministry asked for an extension
until March 31.
MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima) said it was a “scandal” that
the ministry set such strict criteria that no company applied to the tender. She
said the company must declare its capital going back for five years, that it
must have NIS 15 million in guarantees and must not offer other nonsubsidized
dental treatments to children.
“How could a company compete with the
health funds? And who supervises it?” Adatto asked. “The Health Ministry, that
was unable to supervised even Kupat Holim Meuhedet [in which massive alleged
corruption by management was reported by the State Comptroller]?” Eli Cohen, a
deputy director- general of Clalit Health Services, said that it was the health
funds that were discriminated against, as inadequate state budgets were
allocated to pay for the dental treatments while the insurers were facing
growing demand for care.
But Dr. Yoel Lipschitz, the Health Ministry’s
deputy director-general in charge of supervising the health funds, told The
Jerusalem Post that the IDA asked a commercial insurance company to set up a
corporation to apply to the tender.
“The company was not willing to set
it up unless it was allowed to sell insurance policies to all who came for
dental care,” he said.
Thus, the subsidized dental care for young
children would turn into a “platform to do business,” Lipschitz
“They want to sell insurance rather than take care of teeth,”
he continued. “We have no intention of allowing a commercial body to take
advantage of the process to pressure people into buying additional services,
just as we don’t allow the health funds to sell commercial health insurance but
only their own nonprofit commercial supplementary health insurance.”