While accepted metrics in the healthcare system in Israel and in general often evaluate mortality, the Disability-Adjusted Life Years measure estimates disease burden that is caused either by premature death or by morbidity and disability, thus giving a more complete picture of health status in the country. An examination of the health status of Israelis shows that while cardiovascular diseases and major cancers are responsible for 42 percent of mortality, their contribution to overall disease burden as measured by DALYs stands at only 18 percent. In contrast, orthopedic problems and major depressive disorders, which contribute to 19 percent of overall disease burden, are almost non-existent among the causes of death. In terms of budgeting for the public healthcare system, current allocations for the 15-54 year-old age groups, populations which are very important in terms of their role within households and in the labor market, are relatively low compared to this group’s share of disease burden. This study also found that the Health Basket Committee dedicates almost half of its annual budget to cancer-related illnesses and treatment, which are among the main causes of mortality. Nonetheless, new funding for treatment of orthopedic disorders and mental health issues is minimal due, in part, to the narrow mandate of this committee.
This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, State of the Nation Report 2014, Dan Ben-David (editor).