Health Minister prepares survivor assistance plan

Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri is preparing a proposal, which would cost NIS 250 million a year to implement, that would significantly reduce the financial burden for medical care on Holocaust survivors. The 79-year-old minister said he would ask Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson to support the plan, which would grant exemptions from payments for visits to doctors and to hospital outpatient clinics and diagnostic institutes. It would also include a 50 to 75 percent discount on copayments for prescription drugs included in the basket of health services. Ben-Yizri said the hair-raising stories of poverty that reportedly include some 80,000 Holocaust survivors "require each of us ministers to examine our ministries and see how we can ease the remainder of their lives. We don't want them to have to choose between basic necessities and medications."