Rabbi Litzman: At Least NIS 500M to Be Spent on ‘Health Basket’

Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The budget for medicines and treatments will grow this year, despite the fact that it is an election year and a new budget for 2020 has yet to be approved, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said Sunday. “We want to give the maximum possible to those who need medical assistance. Our job is to provide the money. I can guarantee that we will not spend less than NIS 500 million on medicines, therapies and treatments,” he said.

Rabbi Litzman was speaking at a press conference at Health Ministry headquarters in Yerushalayim, as members of the Ministry’s Treatments Committee began their first meeting. The Committee has the final word on which medicines, treatments, and therapies will be covered by the state under Israel’s National Health law. Covered medicines and treatments are either paid for fully or subsidized to nearly their full cost; medicines and treatments that are not part of the Committee’s “health basket” need to be paid for by individuals.

Over the past few years, the Committee approved treatments and medicines worth NIS 460 million. In addition, NIS 40 million was set aside for dental care for children up to 18 years old, which is now also covered by National Health insurance laws. The Committee’s 20 members will hold regular meetings through the end of 2019, at which time they will present their decisions on what the state will and will not pay for.