A letter signed by 23 professors, Medical Association officials and union leaders claimed that the cut is "a declaration of war on the middle class and a blow to the Home Front's emergency preparedness."
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The letter urged Netanyahu, Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman and Health Ministry Director Roni Gamzo not to cut the Ministry's budget "this year or the next." On Monday, the government is set to approve an NIS 8.6 million cut from the 2012 Health Ministry budget, and another NIS 5.2 million in 2013.
Health officials, including Medical Association Chairman Leonid Edelman, claimed that the health system is missing NIS 9 billion in public funds. "These are not required to provide Israeli citizens with a grand health system but to provide the basic care stated in the State's laws."
Home Front drill. Emergency preparedness to suffer blow? (Photo: Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services)
The signatories further claimed that Israelis spend more on private health care than in any other country providing its citizens with national health insurance.
"We feel the pain of those patients who are forced to wait hours, days and months for vital medical care and feel the frustration of the doctors, nurses and other staffers who are unable to administer the medical care they have been trained to give."
On 2010, Israelis spent NIS 61 billion in health services, of which 40% represented private expenses paid for by the citizens.
Deputy Health Minister Litzman said in response that he was told by the Finance Ministry that the cut will be marginal.
Meanwhile, Health Ministry officials are saying that the budget cuts will likely harm the fortification of the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, the development of psychiatric facilities, the nurses layout and the mental health reform. The ministry is holding talks with the Treasury to prevent the cut.
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