State must add at least NIS 1.5b. to health basket

Health Ministry welcomes High Court of Justice decision instructing state to update the subsidies money for health services.

Health Ministry 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Health Ministry 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Health Ministry welcomed Thursday’s decision by the High Court of Justice instructing the state to update – within six months – the amount of money it pays the four public health funds as subsidies for the basket of health services.
The ruling followed by almost a decade initial petitions by Clalit Health Services and Maccabi Health Services about properly updating the annual medical services index that determines how the insurers are compensated.
The decision, handed down by justices Salim Joubran and Hanan Meltzer and Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, said there is a gap of NIS 1.5 billion to NIS 2.3b. between what the state owed the health funds and what they received as a result of the medical services index.
The Health Ministry said on Sunday that it has believed for years that the index did not reflect the growing costs in the health system. It will “study the ruling in depth and convene discussions with the Treasury and the health funds on changing the index,” Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said.
Knesset Health Lobby chairman Rachel Adatto said the court ruling “proved that the Finance and Health ministries have ‘dried up’ health budgets in a systematic way.”
The Kadima MK and physician said her criticism over the years and that of patients’ groups have been vindicated, as the ongoing undervaluing of the basket has brought the health system to its “critical condition.”
She maintained that the Health Ministry was just as much to blame as the Treasury, because it agreed over the years to the low state budgets for health. The ministry “blindly” took it for granted that the health funds would absorb the deficits thus created, she charged.
Meanwhile, MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) demanded an urgent meeting of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee to discuss the need to change the medical services index. “The technique of drying up funds that the ‘supreme economic minister’ [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] has led has caused fatal harm to the right for health. I hope this time the government will wake up and carry out the necessary updates so we do not return to the kind of catastrophe that occurred in the Carmel [forest fire in 2010], he said.