The Knesset voted Monday to approve an initiative that will see the names of Holocaust survivors transferred to the national health providers (kupot cholim) in order to provide reduced-price medical care. The initiative will provide survivors with a further reduction on payments for medicines subsidized by their health group.
Approximately 80,000 survivors from the “first circle” - those who were forced into ghettos and concentration camps – will benefit from the new arrangement. The program is expected to cost 50 million shekels a year, which will be provided by the Welfare Ministry branch responsible for providing services to Holocaust survivors.
The move to transfer survivors' names automatically is intended to make the process easier. Elderly survivors will not need to deal with any bureaucracy in order to get the new discounts, which will cover up to 90% of the cost of medicines.
"I believe that this step will make it easier for many survivors to deal with the health crises they face in old age, as well as their day-to-day cost of living,” said Welfare Minister Yitzchak Herzog.
Welfare Ministry Director-General Nahum Itzkovich expressed hope that the measure would relieve poor survivors of the need to choose between medicine and other basic necessities. “We are working hard to continue to reach agreements that will allow us to provide further aid,” he added.