Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCXXXIX. The Ma’abarot Stage (15 of 26)

Kuppat Holim

There are presently 4 kuppat holim or health funds in Israel:  Merchedet, Macabi, Clalit, and Leumit.  The largest (about 60% of the population) and most important is Kuppat Holim Clalit, and it is an arm of the Histadrut.  (It is referred to as clalit, and that is the term I will use thereafter.  Note that clalit simply means general).

Dues (really premium) are paid by the members that join any of the above health funds.  Note that recipients of Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute of Israel; it provides benefits for:  Unemployed, maternity leave, seniors, disabled, veterans, and self-employed) receive free medical care.

In January 1995, a national health insurance law became effective; it established a compulsory health care system to be delivered by the 4 aforementioned health funds.  The premiums paid are geared to the individual income.

Clalit follows a decentralized form of organization in which the country is divided into 8 districts. Each district is given a large degree of independence in managing its affairs.  Budgeting is based on a capitation system.

Clalit was born in 1911 when a group of 150 immigrants joined together to form a mutual and health care association.  In the early years, the pioneers faced neglected and swampy land lacking water and other vital resources.

Those early settlers realized that they had to help each other.  And so, they voluntarily set aside a portion of their wages, according to income, for the medical treatment of the sick.  Thus, clalit is the child of these early attempts to cooperate and to care for each other.

Clalit really came into its own when the State of Israel came into being in 1948.  The first thing its management did was to restructure the existing system to accommodate the huge wave of new immigrants.  Through what must have been superhuman efforts, they managed to provide health care to a population that was literally growing by the day.

For some 90 years, clalit has initiated, defined, and established the health standards for the whole country.  Israel`s sterling reputation in the rest of the medical world is in no small measure due to clalit vision and expertise.

Research is not forgotten.  Clalit conducts clinical, biomedical, and social science research either by itself, or in cooperation with Israel`s academia.

And there is more; but I have to draw the line somewhere.  I will, however, outline the fact that when there are natural disasters anywhere in the world, clalit send medical supplies and doctors to the affected countries.

With the history and present status of health care out of the way, I can now go back in time and relate our experience with Kuppat Holim in the early days.

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