JCP emergency proposal to mend defective nursing care insurance system

Last year, the Japanese government introduced the nursing care insurance system ostensibly to promote elderly people's nursing care at home. One year later, contrary to what was conceived, the number of elderly people on the waiting list for long-term nursing homes doubled to 200,000.

This figure was revealed by Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo during a one-on-one debate with Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro in the House of Representatives on June 20.

Pointing out that many people cannot afford to pay the high fees for nursing care services at home, Shii on behalf of the JCP made an emergency proposal for the government to take the responsibility to urgently remedy these defects.

The JCP calls for three measures: a survey to be conducted to know how many people are being kept waiting for entering long-term nursing homes; reductions in or exemption of nursing care insurance premiums and fees for services; and a freeze on the collection of the full amount of the nursing care insurance premiums due to begin in October.

Shii questioned the prime minister if he thinks that the lack of availability of long-term care nursing homes is in violation of the insurance contract.

Prime Minister Koizumi dodged the question about the sharp increase in the number of people who are waiting to be admitted to long-term nursing homes. He instead insisted that most users of the services are satisfied with the system. (end)