Litzman promises ‘war’ to expand health basket

Health minister says government must approve public nursing insurance.

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman will “launch a world war” to get the proposed health-basket increases approved by the government, he told a conference of insurance executives at Beit Sokolow in Tel Aviv on Monday.
He conceded that his ministry changed its mind about levying taxes on supplementary health policies of the four public health funds and on commercial health insurance policies so that the basket of medical technologies could be expanded by NIS 550 million next year. In the end, he and the Treasury decided to drop the proposed tax and to instead expand the basket by NIS 500m. annually for three years. “When it grew by only NIS 300m. a year for a decade, the press was silent, but suddenly, when the media heard it was only NIS 460m., the media said it was too little. Let me reassure you, the addition is NIS 500m. and no less,” he declared.
Litzman said he was not pressured to cancel the tax because of the demands of private health insurance companies, which would stand to lose customers if it went into effect. He added that the government would have to approve his proposed public nursing insurance for the elderly – to be funded by a 0.5 percentage point rise in health taxes, because “there is no reason to steal money from our children; nursing should be the responsibility of the government.”
The health minister accused MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) of trying to take credit for his idea of nursing insurance. He said that the insurance idea “was part of the coalition agreement” with his party, United Torah Judaism. “I am confident that the prime minister will keep his promise,” Litzman said.