Public Opinion of the Level of Service and Performance of the Health System in 2001, Compared to Previous Years

Since implementation of the National Health Insurance Law in 1995, the JDC-Brookdale Institute has been studying the functioning of the reformed health system. A central focus of this study has been to monitor the degree to which the law’s principal goals have been attained.

The survey whose findings are presented here was conducted in 2001, and is the fourth in the series; previous studies were conducted in 1995, 1997, and 1999. The findings from 2001 are the basis for the newest survey in the series, which is being conducted in 2003 and will be published in early 2004.

This report examines the functioning of the health system over time from the consumer’s perspective, and according to consumers’ reports. The findings of the survey have been broadly disseminated, and were presented in early 2002 to the Minister of Health and the administration of that ministry, the members of the Health Council, and health plan senior managers; key findings have also been quoted by the media. This report complements that initial analysis, and addresses major issues in the functioning of the health system. The following are among them:

  • Trends in the level of health plan services during a period of cost containment.
  • Equality among populations in satisfaction with and accessibility to services.
  • The effect of co-payments on the accessibility of health services.
  • Patients’ opinions of family physicians, and health promotion activities.
  • Dissemination of information to the public, the need for information, and the level of information that the public possesses about its rights.
  • Public assessment of the health system’s functioning in comparison to public assessments of the health systems in other countries.

The importance of this study lies in its providing ongoing information, which helps policymakers monitor system performance, with the aim of examining the effect of change, identifying trends that are desirable and should be reinforced, and undesirable side effects that require special attention. The study gives voice to the opinions of consumers, and thus makes it possible to take them into account when setting policy.

This report was written in the framework of the Cooperative Program in Health Policy Research of the government of Israel and the JDC-Brookdale Institute, and was funded with the assistance of the Ministry of Health, Clalit Health Services, Maccabi Healthcare Services, the Leumit Health Fund, and Meuhedet Health Services.