Health Experts: System is Already Short by 9 Billion
Hospital managers and CEOs, heads of doctors’ unions and heads of patient welfare groups have sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urging him not to go through with a plan to cut the annual healthcare budget.
“We are appalled at the intention to cut the health budget yet again, and turn to you with an urgent call – do not cut healthcare spending! Not this year and not next year, either,” the group declared.
“A careful calculation by economic experts specializing in heath has shown that the system is currently short by 9 billion shekels,” the letter continued. “This [money] is needed not to give the citizens of Israel luxury health care, but rather, to give citizens the basic medical care required by law.”
Recent studies show the amount Israelis spend on private healthcare is greater than that in other countries whose governments provide subsidized care, the writers noted. “The data points to growing gaps and inequality in health services in Israel, and on growing inefficiency in the system,” they warned.
“Every day we walk the halls of the public clinics and hospitals in the state of Israel,” they said. “Every day, we see upstanding citizens, taxpayers, who in their hardest moments encounter a worn-down, tired system, and medical teams with no more strength. We feel the pain of patients who must wait for hours, days, and months for necessary medical care, and feel the frustration of the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who cannot give the patients the medical care they are capable of providing.”
Netanyahu has said that cuts are necessary in order to meet new expenses, including the demands of “social equality” protesters, without breaking the budget. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz supports the Prime Minister’s approach, but several MKs have stated their disagreement with the plan, including members of the Coalition parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.