Report: Proper health care inaccessible to more than 1 m. Israelis

15 percent of population can't afford prescription drugs; 80,000 Beduins do not receive vital medical care.

poor kids crying 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
poor kids crying 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Over one million Israelis are unable to take full advantage of their rights under the 1994 National Health Insurance Law because they cannot afford copayments, live in places where health services aren't easily accessible, are unable to persuade the National Insurance Institute (NII) that they are legal residents or are prisoners offered inadequate care - according to a report issued Thursday by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR). The report was issued belatedly to mark World Health Day, which was celebrated on April 7, during the Pessah holiday. PHR said that one million Israelis (15 percent of the population) can't afford prescription drugs because they can't afford out-of-pocket fees. An additional 80,000 residents of unrecognized Beduin villages live without dependable water supplies and electricity infrastructure and do not receive the medical care they need, PHR reported. Many of the 246,000 Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem are regularly investigated by the NII, questioning their residency status, which entitles them to national health insurance, the report said. The report also said that more than 18,000 prison inmates receive inadequate care, some 190,000 foreign workers and refugees, as well as women living in polygamous marriages, are not eligible for national health insurance, and 40,000 others have had their health care privileges cancelled because they are Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs. The non-profit organization of Jewish and non-Jewish physicians said that rights to national health insurance and coverage have been eroded by the Treasury because the government prefers to "adopt a non-equitable, non-egalitarian model."