JCP: Government bill will destroy nursing-care system

The Koizumi Cabinet on February 8 approved a bill to cut government spending on the nursing-care system by forcing users to pay more and cutting benefits. The bill has been sent to the Diet on the same day.

The bill is the first major review of the nursing-care insurance system for the elderly, introduced in 2000.

If the proposed revision is enacted, bed-ridden elderly people at long-term care nursing homes will be forced to pay for their boarding and meals from October, which will be 370,000 yen a year per person, amounting to 300 billion yen for all residents.

Koike Akira, Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission chair, on the same day published a statement demanding that the bill be withdrawn.

Koike said, "The biggest problem that the bill intends to restrict the elderly's use of nursing-care services and impose heavy burdens on the people on the pretext of the need to save tax money."

Koike further said:

"The JCP opposes the bill that would substantially reduce services for elderly people with light disorders and those who are cared at home, under the fair name of 'preventive nursing-care.' The JCP also opposes the plan to collect an extra 400,000 yen a year from each resident for their beds and meals.

"It is unacceptable for the government to cut its spending on the nursing-care system by 40 billion yen by neglecting its duty over public health and the welfare of the elderly. It is government responsibility to restore the reduced government share of the budget and further raise it to improve the system so that necessary services are available to whoever in need, without worry of payment. The JCP demands that the government bill be withdrawn." (end)

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.