Israel’s Healthcare System
Author: Dov Chernichovsky, Eitan Regev
December 11, 2012
The recently resolved labor dispute between Israeli physicians and the state cast a shadow on the Israeli healthcare system’s achievements of the past two years: the dental care reform, the reduced copayment burden, and other easing of the financial burden, e.g., the elimination of the Tipat Halav fee.
Manpower increases were recently authorized for the system, and access to healthcare in Israel’s periphery is expanding. Some of these measures represent promises to the public which, hopefully, the government will be able to keep. These changes do not, however, have the power to bring about structural change in terms of financing, organizing or managing the system. The recent wage agreements may conceivably increase the share of public funding in Israel’s national health expenditure; but such a development would merely reflect a lack of long-term government policy. The public system is eroding and administered from crisis to crisis. An analysis of household healthcare expenditure indicates that those who need and are able to leave the public system do so. Decades of achievement in the realm of equity and efficiency are eroding, and public health may ultimately suffer. Within the overall context of worthwhile initiatives and long-term policy with far-reaching consequences for Israel’s social services system, an assessment should be made of the reform proposed for long-term care insurance in Israel – a sphere that by default, rather than by a process of careful consideration, is regarded as a healthcare system issue.
This paper appears in the Center’s annual publication State of the Nation Report – Society, Economy and Policy 2011-2012.