Meir Hospital - Alon Ron
A nurse walking down the nearly empty halls of the outpatient clinic at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava, May 3, 2011. Photo by Alon Ron
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There are widening gaps between poor and middle class citizens in Israel in the rate of incidences of chronic disease, a report published on Thursday revealed.

The report, which was based on information from four HMOs in Israel, was prepared by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Health Services.

The report characterizes poor citizens as those who receive a full or partial exemption from paying the national health tax, which is 10.1 percent of people living in Israel.

There has been an increase in the prevalence of diabetics receiving medical treatment in Israel, the report reveals.

The rate of diabetes who have an exemption from paying the national health tax is 16.07 percent, 4.7 times higher than tax-paying citizens, whose rate stands at 3.43 percent. These numbers reflect an equality gap which has increased by 4.3 between 2005 and 2007.

In addition to diabetics, the report also reflected a disparity in rate of poor people diagnosed with asthma. Out of those exempt from the national health tax in 2009, 2.36 were diagnosed with asthma, a rate which is 2.5 times the rate of asthma diagnosed in the rest of the population.

Reports reflecting similar inequalities have been published in the past as well as reports reflecting an inequality in the health care that is available in the center of the country, versus the periphery.