A new committee to recommend what medications and medical technologies should be added to the basket of health services for 2009 was appointed by Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On and Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri on Tuesday. The committee recommends, but does not legislate priorities; however, the Health Ministry and cabinet have always accepted the recommendations without opposition, and the additions are provided to relevant patients at their health fund's expense (or subsidized by the health fund). Last year, the committee was not appointed until very late in 2007, meaning that the members started very late and the additions were made to the 2008 basket two months late. Prof. Menahem Fainaru, former dean of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Medical School, remains chairman, and Health Ministry medical technologies and infrastructure head Dr. Osnat Luxenburg continues to be its coordinator. More than half of the other members served on the 2008 basket committee. Ben-Yizri said that contrary to last year, the committee would start early this year - in July - so members would complete their work well in time to make recommendations by November. The Treasury has agreed to allocate NIS 425 million to expand the 2009 basket; as in previous years, that amount of money will undoubtedly not meet the needs and demands of all patients. The committee will consider the medical, social, ethical, economic and other aspects aspects of their choices.