Medical tourism law still being debated in Israel

The Health Ministry has submitted a bill to allow medical tourism in all hospitals in Israel.

The Knesset Committee is discussing the law. After a discussion in the Knesset, the Hotam organization published a position paper on medical tourism. In it, they spoke about the clause in Jewish law that requires locals to receive precedence over outsiders who need help, especially if those outsiders are from a different nation. Hotam mentioned that Israeli tourists pay a health tax, and preferring medical tourists allows issues of bribery to develop.

Hotam: “We must significantly limit the amount of medical tourism in the public health system. We must clarify the ethical guidelines and forbid any preference or advantages for medical tourists over Israeli citizens. The State Comptroller’s report found that Israeli hospitals preferred patients from abroad to Israeli patients. The government is discussing a law which will limit medical tourism.”

Since medical tourists are not covered by state health insurance, the payment hospitals get for their treatment is much higher than the payment received for treating Israeli citizens. In a 2015 report, the State Comptroller noted that hospitals prefer medical tourists to Israelis.