Health Ministry asks for extension on dental care measure

"A private company can’t subsidize children’s dental care while selling insurance to parents."

By
December 2, 2010 06:32
2 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

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 excluded.

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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 explained.

“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.”


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