Since Israel's National Health Insurance Law went into effect in 1995, we have witnessed the gradual privatization of the national health system. Government-subsidized portions of the health budget decrease while private-subsidies increase, with costs transferred to the insured public. This phenomenon violates the egalitarian principals to which the Insurance Law is bound. The erosion of public budgets is reflected most notably in the increased co-payments the insured have to pay for services and medication included in the public health-benefits basket. As a result, many forego necessary medical treatment. In 2007, 18% of chronic patients and 20% of the bottom fifth of the population reported that they had passed-up medical care and prescription drugs as a result of the fees involved.
At the same time, private medical services are expanding alongside the public system and are using its resources. Supplemental insurance was instituted as an attempt to sell those services not included in the health-benefits basket to those who could afford it. The result has been unequal access to quantity, quality, and range of medical services by wealthier communities versus those less fortunate.
In addition, we are witnessing discrepancies in general mortality and infant-mortality rates between residents of outlying communities and those at the center, between Jews and Arabs, and between rich and poor. Gaps also exist between these groups in terms of specialized medicine, medical equipment, first-aid and specialist clinics, along with hospital-beds and medical staff.