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Rush University professor compares health care in Israel and the United States

Catherine Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

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Universal health care should be implemented in United States as it is in Israel, Rush University Prof. Stanley Lapidos said at an event Wednesday as he compared the two countries’ health care systems.

About 10 people attended the event organized by Wildcats for Israel and held at Harris Hall to educate students about health care in the two countries. The event was an opportunity to talk about a relevant issue in the context of America and Israel, Wildcats for Israel president Jake Stein said.

“We also realized that health care is a huge topic right now in America, and one of the things we always try to stress in Wildcats for Israel is America’s and Israel’s relations just because it’s a very relevant topic to Israelis and Americans,” the SESP freshman said.

One of the key differences in health care in the two countries is that health care is universal and mandated in Israel, Lapidos said. This drastically differs from the United States, which has a 12.8 percent uninsured population rate between the ages of 18 to 64, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lapidos also said health care disparity exists in each country. In the United States it affects minorities and low-income populations, he said, while in Israel it primarily affects immigrants, low-income families, Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox population.

“The disparities we have between the higher (stratosphere) of our population and most at the end are enormous and are getting wider as we speak,” he said. “It is going to be the number one challenge and crisis we face in this country, along with the aging of the population.”

Lapidos said the American health care system can learn from Israel’s by implementing a national insurance system. The number one priority of the health care system should be making people feel comfortable about their access to primary and speciality care, he said. He also said the United States should learn from Israel’s investment in education because it creates a healthy society.

On the other hand, Lapidos said Israelis could do a better job at reducing their country’s population’s health care risk by, for example, going for regular cancer screenings and refraining from smoking.

“In this country we have invested a lot in preventative measures to try and get people to take care of themselves better and Israel needs to go down a little bit farther in being able to do that,” he said.

Medill freshman Zoe Grossinger said she attended the event because she was looking into learning more about Israel from different perspectives.

“I studied in Israel for three months (in high school), and it was one of the best experiences,” she said. “I learned a lot about Israel, but I know that there is still a lot more to learn. We all share Israel’s history, and I think that it’s important to learn about it as much as we can because we’re the diaspora and we should all have that connection.”

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