The Health Care System – 2007
Author: Yaakov Kop Policy Research

According to many indicators, such as infant mortality, life expectancy, and public satisfaction with health care services, Israel’s health care system may take credit for impressive achievements.

Life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world (especially among men) and infant mortality is below the OECD average, even though the percentage of underweight births, ordinarily a proxy for high infant mortality, is much higher than in European countries. Many factors other than the curative and preventive services affect life expectancy and mortality, including some related to culture, education, and lifestyle. However, the health care system is central in preventing and coping with states of morbidity and contributes to the achievements described above.

The public nature of the health care system, as well as the high quality of its health care staff, should, at least in principle, guarantee the delivery of health care services that meet high professional standards and are theoretically accessible to the entire population. In recent years, however, disparities between population groups have widened in many aspects of health status and accessibility to health care services. This has taken place against a backdrop of reduced state participation in funding of the system – often overshadowing the system’s previous achievements.

As in past years, this chapter reviews indicators of developments in the health care system. Part A surveys national expenditure on health care services, and changes in the composition of its funding, relative to the OECD countries. The main developments in the inpatient system and in health care system personnel are reviewed. Part B focuses on the consequences of the inequality in health and health care services as reflected in indicators of the public’s health, access to health care services, and differences in infrastructure in different parts of the country.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2007.

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