The Health System at a Roadcross

Cite As:
Trajtenberg Manuel. The Health System at a Roadcross Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2020.

The health system in Israel has long suffered from the growing scarcity of hospital beds, long queues for tests and services, overworked medical personnel, and overcrowded emergency rooms – all of which attest to systemic problems that require an urgent response. The Corona crisis provides further proof that decades long under-investment in the public health system has undermined the readiness and availability of medical teams, of equipment and of critical infrastructures. The successful organizational design of the public health system, and flattering health care indicators such as a long life expectancy, became a convenient cover that enabled the further erosion of the public health system. 

However, Israel stands out also for its low share of public expenditure on health, the low number of graduates in medicine, and the old age of practicing physicians; thus, absent a radical change in policy the system is bound to deteriorate even further. We outline here a plan that aims to achieve a ratio of national health expenditure to GDP of 8.8%, which requires an additional budget of NIS 2 billion per year to 2025, beyond the yearly adjustment pegged to GDP growth, and the additional budgets required to deal with the corona crisis. 

The increase will come in part from raising the health tax, and partly from the state budget. This step should be accompanied by the delineation of clear boundaries between the public and private systems, the upgrading of family and preventive medicine, and a proactive move to bring about the widespread use of big data and artificial intelligence, as part of a comprehensive health strategy for the long term.


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