The Cost of Health Care in Israel

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・8 Sources

In the developed world, Israeli expenditure is the lowest in the sector of health care. As such, the country has an efficient medical system. However, among the 34 Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it has the highest expenditure for the out-of-pocket private contributions of its residents (Siegel, 2016). Such indicates a low state support for the entire system.

Costs of health care in Israel

Siegel (2016) indicates the OECD member states spend 9 % of the GDP while Israel expenditure is only 7.6 percent. The private expenditures in healthcare costs for the OECD countries average at 27 percent while Israel is at the higher side of 38 %. As compared with the United States, Israel has a better performance on its health care system. The efficiency of this country emerges from the small number of HMOs, strict regulations, and the engagement of the government in controlling the prices.
Most of the financing of the Israel health care comes from the government. As such, the system is accessible to majority of the people and it is equitable. Income taxes help in paying for the costs of the system. However, Israelites pay higher taxes as compared to the Americans. As such, the cost of health care in the country is 7.5 percent of its GDP, which is compared to 17.9 % of GDP for the U.S (Bloland, Simone, Burkholder, Slutsker & De Cock, 2012). These statistics clearly indicate that Israel is one nation, which has low costs for health care as compared to America.
The low cost in the country is experienced despite the fact that health care is universal and there is compulsory participation for all citizens in the medical insurance plan. A fundamental right in Israel is that all the citizens have an access to basic health care. This is different when compared to the U.S. where the public makes choices on the medical insurance plans to choose (Bloland, Simone, Burkholder, Slutsker & De Cock, 2012). Moreover, the U.S. does not have a universal health care system.

Where does the money for health care go? How much money goes to hospitals? To health care workers? To drugs?

The government funding and tax revenues collected are pooled and then distributed to the established four health plans in the country. These funds help in paying for the services basket in accordance with the risk-adjusted capitation (Bloland, Simone, Burkholder, Slutsker & De Cock, 2012). The adjustment is based on sex, age, and socioeconomic status of a person. HMOs, which are linked to the national system helps in providing supplemental insurance for the items that basic benefits do not cover.
All the money that Israel government invests in healthcare system goes to the medical plans, support of the functionality of different hospital activities, paying the health care workers, and buying drugs. The money is distributed into these areas in accordance to the needs of each specific location. The aim is to improve the quality of service delivery and health care in society.

What are the costs of various procedures?

Israel is considered as a technological development center for research in the area of health. As such, the national has significant growth that originates from the inter-disciplinary capabilities that bring together, materials science, clinical expertise, engineering know-how, software expertise, electronics, and medicine (Israel Ministry of Health, 1993). As such, these have contributed towards having cost-effective medical procedures for the citizens. Therefore, Israelites have a chance to access quality and highly intensive medical services irrespective of their income levels.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with the USA where the cost of medical procedures is extremely high. Individuals have to pay for all the health care services and for those who cannot meet the cost, they are denied the services. The problem occurs since unlike Israel where the control and regulation of medical procedures and health care costs is under the government, in the U.S this is left to the inter-play of public and private sectors (Cohen, 2012). Therefore, the health care and medical schemes tend to be profit oriented and not being focused on solving the social problem, which is being experienced in the community.

How are these costs of health care regulated (i.e. monitored and controlled)?

The government of Israel has the statutory mandate of controlling and regulating the costs of healthcare (Export.Gov, 2016). Thus, the government ensures that there is equitable funding and accessibility of health care services among all the people in the country. Further, there is insurance of all people in spite of them having or lacking money. Every citizen in this country has to pay the health tax, which is approximately 5 % of the earned salary. However, when an individual does not have income, he or she stills obtains the same services from the healthcare facility. Thus, the outcome for the health care services in Israel is better and there are lower costs as compared to the United States of American healthcare system.
In the U.S, the role of the government in insurance is to focus on the disabled and poor (Medicaid), the elderly (Medicare), veterans (VA), low-income children excluded in the Medicaid (CHIP), federal employees, and the military (APHA, 1995). Further, employers in the U.S. engage in paying for the health insurance for their employees. The responsibility of the U.S. employers is not seen in Israel.
Is anyone denied access to health care because they cannot pay? How does each of these compare to the USA?
Israel is one nation, which does not select the provision of its health care services to the citizens (Export.Gov, 2016). As such, there is nobody who is denied the access to the health care because of the inability to pay. Unfortunately, the situation is different as compared to the United States where individuals are denied health care when they lack the ability to make the payments or meet the cost of the health care service provision.

Digital Health

Israel is known globally to be the country, which has significantly invested in the area of digital health. As such, as of 2016, the investment of the nation was $ 183 million in digital health (Jewish Virtual Library, 2016). Furthermore, the companies in this country are highly involved in the area of health analytics where different subsectors obtain 32 percent of the investment totals. The situation is different from what is seen in the United States where there is minimal investment of the country on the area of digital health.

Role of public health and disease prevention in Israel

Israel enjoys the services of free clinics, which are set up by the European Jewish Communities focused on the provision of free medical services (Jewish Virtual Library, 2016). The aim is to ensure that individuals who lack the ability to make the payment in different circumstances can do so with a lot of ease. The clinics are often transformed to be the hospitals, which provide medical services to the population.
The health problems of Israel are similar to what is experienced in the U.S. Cancer and heart diseases account for approximately two thirds of the deaths experienced in the country. As such, the diseases are ranked number one in terms of the national priority. Moreover, the nation expresses significant concerns for medical care of the aging, environmental changes problems, and conditions related to lifestyles, occupational, and traffic accidents.
In Israel, there are numerous health education programs, which are conducted with an aim of informing the public members of the essence to ensure that they do not engage in habits, which include overeating and smoking (Jewish Virtual Library, 2016). These programs also encourage individuals to participate in physical exercises so that they do not face detrimental health conditions. The campaigns are run continuously to driver awareness among all the people of the dangers exposed to them because of poor living styles and inequality on the way of life.
The country has also embraced the multifaceted program of enforcement, legislation, shore and beach clean-up, and international activities based on the Mediterranean Action Plan framework. The focus is to have the health and environmental hazards, which emerge from the pollution activities of the expansion of industrial and agricultural activities combated.
Further, Israel has an established program and institution, which is focused on ensuring that there is effective monitoring and control of the factors, which include the transportation and production energy pollution levels in the air (Jewish Virtual Library, 2016). This includes a plan on solid waste management and hazardous substances, which are found in the country. The environmental policy of the nation has the education component and contingency plan, which ensures that there is education of all people on how to address the problem and issue of health in society.
Israel has a vast medical network that comprises of centers for rehabilitation and preventive medicine, outpatient clinics, and hospitals. The hospital care entails advanced techniques and procedures from in vitro fertilization, brain surgery, and MRI scans to organ and bone marrow transports (Jewish Virtual Library, 2016). The ministry of health is the one that dictates the responsibilities and functionality of the health services in the country. This ministry establishes the legislation, standards for drug and food quality, medical control, licenses, evaluation of health services, medical research, construction and planning of hospitals, and licensing the medical personnel. In addition, the ministry has the responsibility of acting as the public health agency for preventive and environmental medicine. Moreover, the ministry of health in Israel plays a role in prevention of obesity, encouraging physical exercises, advocating for healthy lifestyles, and promotion of safety in the entire health care sector.
In the United States of America, public health focuses in disease prevention and promotion of health. In prevention, public health ensures that there are vaccination measures, as well as post-exposure prophylaxis of the elderly, adults, and children. Such includes the provision of the information, which is related to medical and behavioral health risks, as well as measures of reducing the development of different risks at population and individual levels. There is also the inclusion of the disease prevention programs in specialized and primary health care levels (APHA, 1995). Hence, the public gets an access to food and nutritional supplementation, preventive services, oral health services, and dental hygiene. Furthermore, there are population-based screening activities, which are focused on the early disease detection in the population. Moreover, there is the provision of chemo-prophylatic agents that assist in controlling risk factors. Child health and maternal programmes are also provided to educate the public.
Public health also engages in health promotion. Such is seen through the development of the intervention strategies and policies that focus on addressing diet, physical activity, alcohol, and tobacco issues in society. Nutritional and dietary interventions are offered to tackle issues of malnutrition in the communities (Wright, 1993). Such includes having people take food products in wrong proportions, in excess, and lack some nutrients. There are also health service interventions and policies, focused on addressing substance abuse and mental health issues in the population. Such includes the formulation of the strategies for enhancing productive and sexual health. Conversely, there is education of the public on reproduction and sexuality among the partners. In addition, the U.S. public health engages in the development of strategies that assist in tackling domestic violence (APHA, 1995). These include the creation of public awareness campaigns, victim protection and treatment, and linking the same with social services and law enforcement.
Furthermore, the American public health and disease prevention organizations focus on establishing multisector partnerships for preventing diseases and promoting health. These include social communication and educational activities that promote healthy lifestyles, conditions, environments, and behavior. There is also the reorientation of the services of health that aim at developing the care models to enhance health promotion and disease prevention. Such includes communicating all forms and nature of risks in public health and disease prevention.


In conclusion, health care in Israel is totally different from that of the United States. At first, there is compulsory provision of medical cover for all the people irrespective of their income level in Israel while in the United States the cover is restricted to the income capability of a person. The government of Israel is actively involved in controlling and monitoring health care in the country. This is different in America where the government has little to do with control and monitoring of health care. Consequently, the cost of health care in Israel is small as compared to the U.S.
Israel began its health care model by focusing on what was already established in the U.S. The two systems have a similarity, but the one for Israel has significant improvements, which contributes to making it very unique in the market environment. On the other hand, the health plans in America have reached a plateau. Thus, these two countries have different performances and quality on the provision of health care services to their citizens. Therefore, the experience of Israel on its healthcare system could help in accelerating the improvement on quality on the healthcare system of the United States of America.


APHA. (1995). The role of public health in ensuring healthy communities. Retrieved from:
Bloland, P, Simone, P, Burkholder, B, Slutsker, L, & De Cock, K. (2012) .The Role of Public
Health Institutions in Global Health System Strengthening Efforts: The US CDC's Perspective. PLoS Med 9(4): e1001199.
Cohen, N. (2012). ""Policy entrepreneurs and the design of public policy: Conceptual framework
and the case of the National Health Insurance Law in Israel"". Journal of Social Research & Policy. 3 (1): 5–26.
Export.Gov. (2016).
Healthcare Resource Guide: Israel. Retrieved from:
Israel Ministry of Health. (2012). Health Minister’s Report on Smoking-2011. MOH; 2012.
Jewish Virtual Library. (2016).
Israel Health & Medicine: General Overview. Retrieved from:
Siegel, J. (2016).
Israel spends little on healthcare compared to other OECD nations.
Wright, R. (1993). Community-oriented primary care: The cornerstone of health care reform.
JAMA, 269:2544-2547.

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