Separate Public and Private Health Systems
A trend has emerged in the healthcare system in Israel, in which the public and private sectors are being dangerously blurred. The blurring of boundaries includes, among other things, supplemental insurance offered by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs); commercial services provided by public hospitals; HMOs’ ownership of private hospitals and commercial subsidiaries; and physicians’ employment structure in the public system. The combination of public and private healthcare in Israel severely violates the principles of justice, equality, and mutual aid on which the National Health Insurance Law is based, deepening gaps and harming the most vulnerable, while also causing inefficiency in the private system. Additionally, and most importantly, it is destructive to the very existence of the public system. The existence of a good and strong public healthcare system cannot be ensured when human and material resources seep from the public to the private system and when public health bodies also offer private services driven by commercial considerations.
Along with Physicians for Human Rights and the Adva Center, we submitted a position paper to the Ash Committee for the Expansion of Public and Private Healthcare Systems. We are of the opinion that in order to prevent further erosion of the public system, which is ultimately liable to definitively destroy it, clear and distinctive bounds must be drawn; the separation between the private and public systems must be definitive and uncompromising. A strong public healthcare system is not only socially and morally preferable, but it is also the most economically efficient.