The 2016 Medical Services Basket Committee convened today for its firs meeting, in the presence of the Minister of Health, Yakov Litzman, and the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Moshe Bar Siman Tov.
The committee will advise the government and the health council on setting priorities for the addition of medicines and medical technologies to the health basket in accordance with the National Health Insurance Law, all within the allocated budget.
The committee is made up of leading professionals in their respective areas, reflecting a broad range of issues (professionals from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, physicians, representatives of the public, economists, representatives of the HMOs), who will need to address the full range of the medical, social, and ethical issues for the good of the patients.
The committee has a sum of NIS 300 million at its disposal. This year, over 700 different requests have been submitted to the committee for medicines and technologies, at an overall cost of over 2.5 billion shekels. This is a complex task, necessitating some difficult decisions, and the committee will make every conceivable effort to live up to its task to the best possible effect, thereby being of help to the entire Israeli population.
The Minister of Health Yakov Litzman expressed his good wishes to committee members on the occasion of the commencement of their work. “The members of the committee are extremely fit representatives, ethical people whose reputations precede them, who are highly committed to the population of patients, and I am sure that they will carry out their work faithfully. The committee operates with complete transparency and in an egalitarian manner.” Health Minister Litzman clarified that he agrees with the determination that the budget for the health basket does not satisfy all patient needs and he is in favor of enlarging the basket, while taking into account the remaining needs of the Ministry of Health. The Minister called for lifesaving medicines to be restored to the supplementary insurance programs of the HMOs (kupot cholim), “in order to enable thousands of patients to obtain the medicines needed to save their lives. This issue is of utmost priority and will be implemented soon,” he said.
The Director General of the Ministry of Health Moshe Bar Siman Tov said, “The Committee’s challenge becomes greater from one year to the next. Committee members are dealing with the most important thing, people’s health. The work of prioritizing is one of the most difficult and complex tasks. We have great confidence in the ability of committee members to effect a real contribution for the population of patients in Israel. The Israeli health basket is one of the most updated and varied that exist. Our task is to continue to act to increase the resources at the Committee’s disposal, and we are fully committed to this.”
Committee chairman Prof. Rafi Beyar, who also serves as director of Rambam Medical Center, thanked Health Minister Litzman for appointing him to head the Committee. “This is an important public position. Every year, needs exceed capability, and we will have to make the best decisions for the public regarding medicines and technologies based on medical, social and ethical considerations, and know how to utilize the budget at the public’s disposal in the best possible way.”