Histadrut Threatens General Strike over Nursing Care Insurance Crisis

The Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) declared a labor dispute on Tuesday, November 7, following a decision by Capital Market Authority head Dorit Salinger to eliminate collective nursing insurance beginning on January 1, 2018.

The declaration of a labor dispute by the Histadrut means that this organization can call a general strike after two weeks if a solution to the crisis is not found by then. Two large teachers unions are expected to participate in such a strike, leading to disruptions in the education system.

Histadrut leadership approves the declaration of a labor dispute on Tuesday, November 8, over the pending crisis in nursing care.

Histadrut leadership approves the declaration of a labor dispute on Tuesday, November 8, over the pending crisis in nursing care. (Photo: Histadrut)

Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn attacked Salinger and called on Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon to promote a solution based on state-backed nursing care insurance, as proposed by Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman and MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List). “There is a broad problem that must be addressed,” Nissenkorn declared. “There are a million people who will suddenly have no insurance. Imagine that this happened in some other sphere ‒ a million people who suddenly have no pension; whose insurance company collapsed, or whose bank collapsed. There are a million people whose nursing care insurance is about to suddenly collapse. The consequences are momentous… a real disaster.”

In his report on the matter, the State Comptroller stated, “The material and ongoing failure that has been revealed in everything pertaining to regulation of the commercial group insurance market, which has affected the rights of a very large proportion of the public, is a long-term failure that has been going on for more than 19 years.” He wrote that the responsibility for this rests with the “policyholders, advisers, insurance companies, and people insured in the framework of group nursing care insurance.”

According to the State Comptroller, the solutions are problematic: “Adding elderly policyholders to the health funds’ nursing care policies without medical underwriting will lead to the burden of subsidizing of the premium for the excess insurance risk of these policyholders being imposed on the other holders of nursing care insurance policies at the health funds, without any justification. Protection of human rights, above all the preservation of human dignity, requires all the government authorities in Israel to take care of these senior citizens, and it should be done from a forward-looking perspective, and especially in the long term.”