JCP proposes 5 points to improve the nursing care insurance system

The Japanese Communist Party has published a five-point proposal to improve the nursing care insurance system and stop the government from adversely revising it.

JCP Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira and Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji held a news conference on November 18 to announce the proposal.

The nursing care insurance system entering its fifth year in April 2005 will be revised. The government is preparing to introduce a bill that would make the nursing care services more inaccessible for many elderly people.

Determined to stop a major adverse revision of the system that would cut nursing and care services and shift more financial burdens onto users, the JCP proposes five tasks that the government should immediately carry out to improve the system, including an increase in the government share of cost for the insurance system to 30 percent from the present 25 percent. It also calls for premiums and fees for services to be paid according to users' paying capacity.

The JCP plan is in sharp contrast with the government plan that calls for cuts in nursing services for those whose nursing needs are not severe, and the payment of 'hotel' fees for staying in long-term care nursing homes for bedridden old people.

Koike said, "The government plan will only add to the contradiction in the present system because high fees for services and various restrictions often discourage people who have paid premiums from using services."

Pointing out that an increasing number of people are kept waiting to be admitted into nursing care homes, Koike said, "Municipalities should build more affordable homes with financial help from the government. He also said that the JCP plan is financially feasible. "All that is necessary is to change the way tax money is used," he added. (end)

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