What Primary Care Physicians Think of Israel's Health Policy Reform
Revital Gross, Hava Tabenkin, Shuli Brammli-Greenberg
JDC Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem, HaEmek Hospital, Afula; and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba
Opinions of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Law held by primary care physicians were surveyed. A questionnaire was submitted (April-July 1997) to 930 primary care physicians employed by sick funds, including general practitioners, family physicians, pediatricians and internists. Response rate was 86%.
They supported the main components of the NHI law. It was considered desirable "to a great" or "very great extent" to allocate funds to sick funds based on age and number of members (76%), to require them to accept all applicants (72%), to designate a uniform basket of services (65%), to allow members to transfer freely between funds (63%), and to allow sick funds to sell supplemental insurance (59%). However, only 41% were satisfied with the implementation of the law.
Multivariate analysis showed that employment by Maccabi, Meuhedet, or Leumit sick funds had an independent effect on low satisfaction with the law as implemented, and on negative opinions about the uniform basket of services, the accepting of all applicants, and allocation of funding based on age and number of members. Those employed by the Maccabi and Meuhedet funds were in favor of allowing sick funds to sell supplemental insurance.
The findings of the study have implications for policy-makers interested in increasing support for national health reform by physicians. It is important to examine possibilities of developing direct channels of communication between national policy-makers and physicians, as well as institutionalizing mechanisms that involve physicians directly in formulation of national policy.