Long-term care nursing home waiting lists are longer under new nursing care insurance system

A Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member has revealed that about 238,000 people throughout Japan are on the waiting lists for long-term care nursing homes, and demanded that the government take urgent action to solve this problem.

In the Lower House Budget Committee meeting, Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Sakaguchi Chikara agreed with Kodama Kenji of the JCP and stated that it is necessary to construct new nursing homes.

Long-term care nursing homes are for elderly people who are bedridden and can't get appropriate home care. The number of those who are on waiting lists throughout Japan was about 104,000 as of November 1999, five months before the nursing care insurance system was introduced.

The number of applicants on the waiting lists has more than doubled in the past three years. Kodama pointed out, "This means that the government has forced people to pay nursing care insurance premiums, but failed to provide adequate services."

Kodama warned that people are losing confidence in the public welfare system.

The government plans to increase nursing care insurance premiums from this coming April. Kodama proposed that the government increase its share in the nursing care insurance so that the people's burden won't become heavier.

Sakaguchi turned down Kodama's proposal, saying that the social welfare does not mean that the government should pay all the costs for services. (end)

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