Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD, FAAFP, FASAM
As a licensed Israeli physician and Israeli citizen I am grateful that Governor Romney praised the achievements of the Israeli healthcare system. He was quoted at a fundraiser in Jerusalem, "...Our healthcare costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what healthcare spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on healthcare. And you're a pretty healthy nation." Yes, Israelis are enjoying superb healthcare because Israel requires all residents to carry insurance (mandatory insurance coverage) and puts caps on parts of the healthcare system (rationing of healthcare services). Israel created a national government controlled healthcare system in 1995 with compulsory participation. The system is funded through payroll and tax revenue and the government provides all citizens with health insurance.
Health care coverage is administered by a small number of organizations, with funding from the government. People get to choose between four nonprofit plans, which have to accept all applicants including those with pre-existing conditions. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package, regardless of which organization they are a member of, and treatment under this package is funded for all citizens regardless of their financial means. There are no life-time caps and nobody can be dumped off the insurance plan. The plans also must provide a list of government-mandated benefits. In the U.S. certain political groups call such a system a "socialist model" and any country that embraces such model a "socialist society." In Israel we call it a human right and cherish the accomplishment of our democratic society.
Thank you Governor Romney for supporting Israel's efforts to provide healthcare for all. I hope that Governor Romney will allow us to learn from Israel and to adopt their system.
Dr. Wollschlaeger is a frequent contributor to FHIweekly and Specialty Focus. You can read more of his articles by visiting http://floridadocs.blogspot.com/.