Although Israel has a national health insurance system which provides universal access to basic health care services, a majority of adults take out voluntary health insurance (VHI).
The VHI enables them to seek specialist and hospital care in for-profit hospitals rather than the already overstretched public hospitals. The problem with private funding is its regressive nature that exacerbates disparities in access and quality of care. Private provision also negatively impacts on the public system by drawing away physicians, patients and revenues from public hospitals.
The government is addressing these challenges through a multi-pronged effort aimed at reforming the VHI market, encouraging physicians to work full-time in the public sector, and moving to activity-based payments in public hospitals.