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Health in Israel

Israel has an extensive health care system. In 1995, the National Health Insurance Law took effect. It asserts that the state is responsible for ensuring the health care for all its residents by means of a ‘health basket’. The contents of this basket vary from time to time, depending on the funds invested in it by the state. There are several health care funds from which people can choose, and these are responsible for providing most health care. All Israeli citizens pay a health tax to the National Insurance Institute, according to their income.

In recent years, erosion has taken place of the state investments in the health basket. In 2007, it should have risen to 32.3 billion NIS in 2007, whereas in reality it amounted to 25 billion NIS. This erosion has had a negative effect on the consumer. Some expensive medications, for example, were excluded from the basket, forcing patients to pay for them themselves, if they did not pay extra premiums in addition to the health tax. This development has also led to inequality between households, as not everyone can afford to pay premiums for extra services.

Many health issues are medicalized to a much larger degree than in many European countries. Medicines are prescribed in greater quantities, and pregnant women undergo a higher number of tests and receive more care than women in other countries. Women give birth in hospitals, usually with an epidural. The total expenditure on health care was 7.7 percent of GDP in 2011 (World Health Organization, 2011), lower than in most of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states. The health budget for 2012 was 20.6 billion NIS (5.8 billion USD), according to the Ministry of Finance.

Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv, largest hospital in Israel.
Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv, largest hospital in Israel.
Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for its equal treatment of all patients, regardless of ethnic and religious differences, and peace efforts.
Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for its equal treatment of all patients, regardless of ethnic and religious differences, and peace efforts.
Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv is the largest private hospital in Israel.
Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv is the largest private hospital in Israel.
In Haifa the largest underground hospital is being built: the Rambam Health Care Campus (RHCC).
In Haifa the largest underground hospital is being built: the Rambam Health Care Campus (RHCC).

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