Health Minister Yael German 370.
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Public medicine must not become the mainstay of the poor, with the private
system for well-off citizens, Health Minister Yael German told the Knesset State
Control Committee on Wednesday.
German spoke during a discussion on the
recent State Comptroller’s Report, which devoted a section to her
German said that the health and finance ministers must
strengthen the public health system. Private medicine, the report said, is
inadequately supervised by the government.
At present, she said, many
families are not aware that many of the services for which they pay
supplementary health insurance premiums are already included in the public
basket of health services.
Eighty percent of Israelis pay for
supplementary health insurance provided by their public health
Committee chairman MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) brought attention to the
fact – as raised by the state comptroller – that there is a conflict of interest
among doctors who work in both the public and private systems.
comptroller found that doctors refer patients in public hospitals to their
private clinics and hospitals if they want to jump the queues and select their
own surgeon or consultant.
Israel Medical Association head Dr. Leonid
Eidelman said that government health expenditures have been declining for many
years because it regards spending on health “an expense rather than an
investment” in high-quality care and equity for all its citizens.
Holim Meuhedet acting director-general Zev Wurmbrand said that many public
hospitals are forced to raise doctors’ salaries to entice them to remain rather
than drift into the private system. This forces employment costs even higher, he
But Health Ministry directorgeneral Prof. Ronni Gamzu said
separating the two systems completely will “hurt both of them.” Instead, he
said, “we must carry out complex and significant supervision.”
Shlomo Vinocur, chairman of the Israel Family Physician Society, said that
family doctors find themselves made into “partners for shifting activity to
private medicine because of the long lines for consulting public medicine
physicians in certain fields.”
Having listened to his colleagues’
complaints, he said there is “daily and growing pressure” on them today,
compared to a few years ago. In order to help their patients who can’t wait,
they have to tell them that they can pay to go to private clinics and hospitals
rather than waiting, Vinocur said.
“Those who can’t afford care fall
between the cracks.”