Knesset kills bills aimed at improving public health

Two health-promoting bills were rejected on preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday – one to prohibit smoking within 10 meters of playgrounds and the other to exempt prescription medications from VAT.
The first, proposed by Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov, would have protected children (and parents) from involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke near playgrounds.
A 1983 law already prohibits smoking in kindergartens, nursery schools and day care centers. Razbozov added in his suggested bill that smoking within 10 meters of such child facilities also be prohibited, but this too was rejected.
The vote was 49 against and 40 in favor.
Meanwhile, a proposal raised by Meretz MK Ilan Gilon to cancel value-added tax on medications was rejected. This is despite Gilon’s report that many patients cannot afford copayments of drugs included in the basket of medications, let alone those that must be fully paid for by patients.
“Isn’t it enough that a person is sick that you have to place on him the added burden of VAT?” Gilon argued.
“Do people take medications for the fun of it?” Forty-nine MKs voted against and 39 in favor.
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