Health Minister Horowitz denounces Finance Ministry 'interference'

Outgoing Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz spoke at the Dead Sea Conference where he launched an unprecedented attack on the Treasury.

MERETZ PARTY chairman Nitzan Horowitz attends an Israel News Company conference in Jerusalem last week. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
MERETZ PARTY chairman Nitzan Horowitz attends an Israel News Company conference in Jerusalem last week.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Outgoing Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Wednesday castigated the Finance Ministry for “interfering” in internal, professional Health Ministry decisions about where to spend money.

“The involvement of the Finance Ministry in decisions inside the Health Ministry is too great and is reflected in the weakening of professional Health Ministry experts,” he said at the Dead Sea Conference of the National Institute for Health Policy Research. “They have unbridled power. The Health Ministry should be able to shift budgets within the ministry without Treasury intervention, which is intolerable. Its role is to allocate money and not to accumulate it. We are leaving a great inheritance for those who come after us, who need to spend the money and give it to areas such as health, education and welfare.”

“The involvement of the Finance Ministry in decisions inside the Health Ministry is too great and is reflected in the weakening of professional Health Ministry experts,”

Outgoing Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz

“The system is deliberately under-budgeted to weaken the Health Ministry,” Horowitz said. “The Finance Ministry knows that more public funding is needed, but we are far below the standard in OECD countries like Israel. A realistic addition is needed to close the hole created since the enactment of a National Health Insurance Law in 1995.”

What else did he say?

 Health Nitzan Horowitz attends a press conference about the Coronavirus, in Jerusalem on August 29, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Health Nitzan Horowitz attends a press conference about the Coronavirus, in Jerusalem on August 29, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

“People are willing to give up food just to get health-insurance policies,” he said. “It isn’t enough to strengthen public medicine; private medicine needs to be curbed. Private medicine will not treat internal-medicine department patients or psychiatric or geriatric patients. Some called for MRI scanners to be sent to private hospitals, but I opposed this. There can’t be a health system for the rich and a health system for the poor. Responsible leadership cannot approve this.”

“We are facing changes and a new government,” Horowitz said. “We tried to curb private medicine from harming public medicine. We have achievements, but the media don’t publicize them. In addition, we worked to prevent the erosion of the budget due to the demographic factor and fixed the mechanism for updating the health basket.”

The Health Ministry intends to start opening specialty registries of medical residents in hospitals to build a database this month. Until now, it has been conducted with an unreasonable lack of transparency, Horowitz said.

“We are planning to build an additional hospital in Beersheba to serve the Negev [in addition to Soroka-University Medical Center] and one in Kiryat Ata, near Haifa, to serve residents of the North,” he said. “But no matter how many beds and staff we add, the health system will not succeed just because existing needs are growing [with immigration and the aging of the population], and we must invest more in disease prevention.”