Serious disease patients protest at Koizumi's cold-blooded policy

Patients of serious diseases such as kidney and liver disorders are increasing their demand that the Koizumi cabinet immediately stop its coldhearted policy of robbing the patients of their lives under the 'structural reform' pretext.

This was the sentiment at the 16th National Meeting of the Japan Patients Council (JPC), comprising 260,000 members from 15 organizations, which met on June 3 in Tokyo.

In 1998, due to the step taken by the then Health and Welfare Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro, serious disease patients were obliged to pay part of their medical costs, and as a result, the number of medical examinations for these patients dropped by 19,000 or 17%.

Also in this year's government budget, 2.4 billion yen in financial assistance to patients' medical payments was cut. This is the first such cut in 25 years since the government started this system.

Still worse, because the government introduced computers for reprocessing new patient applications, about 10,000 applicants were not on the list as officially approved.

Participants at the JPC meeting said, "The Koizumi government is forcing serious disease patients into further despair and in our view, Mr. Koizumi's attitude is bloodcurdling." (end)

May 30-June 5 Contents