State, Sharon Family to Split Medical Bills
The Knesset Finance Committee has determined the Sharon family must absorb half of the costs of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's care.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/15/2011, 5:44 PM
The Knesset Finance Committee decided Monday the family of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will pay a portion of his medical bills.
Sharon's medical bills are currently underwritten by the state to the amount of NIS 1.5 million per annum.
A panel appointed by the committee investigated the state's payment of Sharon's medical bills, and determined the public's obligation was only NIS 750,000 per year.
The change came after Sharon's family asked to transfer the former prime minister, who has been comatose since 2006, to his ranch in the South, which would increase his medical expenses.
The state and the Sharon family will share the costs of manpower, medical equipment and ongoing expenses necessary for him to have hospital conditions at home. In addition, medical staff from Tel Hashomer Hospital will be brought to the ranch, and a part-time administrative worker will be hired to coordinate between the Sharon family, the hospital and the Prime Minister's Office.
At the same time, the panel found it in the public's interest to move Sharon out of Tel Hashomer Hospital as there are not enough free rooms for patients.
"An ethical and civilized state must continue paying for a prime minister who fell into a coma during his term," Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (UTJ) explained.
The panel recommended the state continue paying its share of the medical fees as long as it is necessary. The payments will be made after Sharon exhausts other options such as National Insurance and medical funds.
The panel's recommendations must be authorized by the Knesset Finance Committee, which determines former prime ministers' pensions and benefits.