-profit, national sickness funds. These funds, contributed by employers/government and insurance levies which were computed on the basis of income, operate their own medical institutions. However, the arrangement at that time was not ideal. First, Clalit (the largest among the four) required all members to enroll with the Histadrut labor organization, without regard to an individual’s wish or inability to do so; then there were others which placed unnecessary entry restrictions on age criteria or some other pre-existing variables. Second, the levels of benefit coverage or services could vary widely among their members and lastly was that there were still a segment of its citizens, even though small as they may be, did not have any kind of health protection.
Previously, premiums were regularly collected from these funds’ members directly. With this National Health Insurance Law, government introduced a new progressive national health insurance tax with the social security agency being made responsible for collection. The agency would then forward the proceeds to the individual sickness fund based on their membership and its demographic makeup. So a universal coverage for all citizens was finally made possible. While the government made it mandatory for all to be registered with the four funds, it also introduced some form of competition by allowing movement of members between funds (restricted to twice a year or every six months).
Every year a committee, assigned by Ministry of Health, would present and publish a "basket" or uniform package of medical services and prescription formulary. That “basket” would represent the minimum service that must be made available to all funds members. This has achieved equality among all funds so that all citizens are able to access the basic healthcare -- which was what the government was set out to do.
While the law has been instrumental of providing Israeli citizens a higher standard of healthcare among the developed countries, helped in part by allowing foreign competitions to enter its health care industry, and enforced uniformity into what was once a system somewhat in disarray, it also attracted some unhappiness. First is the complaint that the "basket" may not offer adequate coverage – which was addressed with the HMOs and insurance providers (often in conjunction with employers) offering “non-essential” coverage not originally included in the basket. That has, in turn, been accused of not going with the spirit of the new law which stressed so much on equality in healthcare. Another flash point is that in the government’s effort to guarantee universal coverage, the tax income base amount (the maximum amount of yearly earnings that are subject to the tax) was adjusted up, irritating many high-income earners to complaint about ‘ridiculously high’ tax or health premiums. Finally, there are also some unhappy voices on co-payments for certain services that seem to go on rising.
Other than HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and avian influenza the other top killers in the country. With exception, all provincials were deeply affected by dengue fever and DHF -- as pointed out by WHO.