Child at the dentist's office
Child at the dentist's officeiStock

Israel's Health Ministry has reduced its budget for children's dental care by 30 million NIS ($8,761,350), and two of Israel's four health funds have already announced cuts in the area, Israel Hayom reported.

Clalit, Israel's oldest and largest health fund, has told dental clinics which work with them to reduce by 20% the dental treatments provided to children in 2020, relative to the previous year.

Meuhedet ordered its clinics to act similarly in 2019.

As a result, wait times for dental treatments are expected to lengthen, and fewer treatments will be given, despite the fact that pediatric dental care is included in the basic "healthcare basket" subsidized by the Israeli government.

Shila (Clalit Smile) told clinics working with it that "beginning February 1, Shila's contract with all contracted clinics providing preventive and preservative dental care for children will be limited to a limit of 80% of the 2019 income."

The statement also emphasized that a dental clinic which provides more than the allocated number of treatments will not receive payment from Clalit for the treatments.

Clalit has explained that this year, the "dental reform" spearheaded by Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) expanded to include children ages 16-18. However, instead of a budget of 80 million NIS ($23,363,600) for those children, the health funds received only 50 million NIS ($14,601,100), even after a lengthy battle.