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February 25, 1994 - Image 114

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-02-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

aederal aireplace

( Rarbecue 8z patio

Changing Realities

The peace process is not the only factor altering
Israel's economic, social and political landscapes.


Complete sets with
on/off valve, burner,
grate, sand, &

health-care system has been to
improve the quality of services
by increasing the competition
between the various health pro-
grams ("sick funds"), after plac-
ing them on an equal footing.
The General Sick Fund, for
example, which is run by the
Histadrut (National Federation
of Labor), has always been the
largest of these programs es-
sentially because it is the most
accessible (with infirmaries in
even the most remote of settle-

Photo by AP/Nati Harnik



ith all the attention
given to the agonizing
progress of the peace
process, it's easy to
lose sight of the fact that a col-
lection of far more prosaic issues
have been dominating the news
in Israel for much of the past
few weeks.
Many are matters that have
a far greater impact on the dai-
ly lives of Israel's citizens than,
for example, security arrange-
ments at the border crossings.

Tel Aviv residents lineup at a lottery booth.

W 1994


0-9 -9889


Next time you feed your face,
think about your heart.

Go easy on your heart and start cutting back on foods
that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. The
change'II do you good.

At . ft

V American Heart Association


And, taken together, they raise
serious questions about how
well Yitzhak Rabin's govern-
ment is living up to its promise
to change the order of national
priorities, give Israel's citizens
a better break, and ensure their
children a better future.
The biggest of these headline-
making matters is the state of
national health care and the
fate of the new national health
bill, which has already led to the
resignation of Health Minister
Chaim Ramon.
Because of the country's par-
ticular system of "socialized
medicine," Israelis actually have
better (or at least more univer-
sal) health coverage than is
available in many other "West-
ern" countries. But, as in oth-
er countries, the health-care
system has been shouldering an
increasing burden.
One result of the over-crowd-
ed hospitals, long waits for sur-
gical procedures, and
intermittent, often long, and al-
ways punishing strikes by
health-care personnel has been
the growth of private health ser-
vices, which only serves a priv-
ileged portion of the population.
The aim of reforming the

ments). It has also been suffer-
ing from chronic debt.
Thus the reform bill was de-
signed to ease its financial dis-
tress by having the government
collect all health-fund payments
and divide the kitty more equi-
tably. Without such reform, the
Health Ministry argued, the
General Fund would simply col-
lapse, taking the entire health-
care system down with it.
That has been a compelling
argument. But the prerequisite
to the Ramon plan is to make
the General Fund an indepen-
dent entity, like all the other
programs — and the Histadrut
has balked at this idea.
It insists not only on requir-
ing General Fund patients to
remain members of the labor
organization but on collecting
50 percent of the health fees on
its own. And that, in turn, has
led wary citizens to suspect that
part of the health-care fees will
inevitably be channeled toward
other Histadrut interests, in-
cluding the sustenance of its
mammoth (and, many critics
charge, self-serving) bureau-
The Labor members of the
government, including the

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