Political Foes Unite on Health Care Funding in Next Government

Ashkelon Barzilai Hospital. (Flash90)

They may be distant from each other ideologically and politically, but three parties – New Right, Labor and United Torah Judaism – have all signed on to a document committing them to advancing the health care system in the next Knessset. The three parties promise to work together to demand funding for hospitals and health care as part of their negotiations for entrance into the next government, whoever forms it.

The various programs will cost approximately NIS 5 billion. The parties promise to demand that the next government commit to providing the funds for the programs as part of their coalition agreements, and to work together as a bloc in the Knesset to vote the programs associated with the funding into law.

The parties have essentially adopted the working plan of the “Five Billion for Health Forum,” a non-government organization that advocates for increased health care funding. It is made up of dozens of patient, doctor, nurse and civic organizations, and has conducted numerous private studies pointing out inefficiencies and problems in the Israeli health care system. The plan was recently presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The features of the plan include an additional 1,000 beds in hospitals for patients, 600 beds for geriatric patients, 150 beds for recovering patients, funding for 3,000 new nurses and 2,000 new doctor positions, a billion shekels to improve infrastructure in public hospitals, and automatic funding increases for budgets for preventive care programs linked to the inflation rate, among other things.

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