28% of Israelis forgo medical care due to expense

About 28 percent of Israeli citizens decided to forgo medical services because of financial distress, according to statistics released Monday by the Ministry of Health. The statistics also show that 13% of Israelis in general and 14% of senior citizens had not made required visits to a doctor. In addition, 10% of Israeli children did not receive medical treatment because of their parents' financial situation. According the chairman of the Israeli Medical Association, Dr. Yoram Blesher, forgoing medical treatment for financial reasons places a greater burden on government budgets because it causes the general medical condition among the population to worsen. "Close to 39% of the population experienced a decline in their medical condition [in 2005], which has lead to more serious illnesses that continue for a longer period of time. Many hospitalizations could have been avoided." Dr. Leonid Edelman, a department head at Petah Tikva's Beilinson Hospital, said that doctors increasingly have to do bend over backwards to obtain medications for their patients, and occasionally even pay for medication out of their own pockets.