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Elderly-care law adversely revised

The bill to revise the nursing-care insurance law to reduce government burdens and impose extra burdens on care service users was enacted on June 22 after the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, and the Democratic Party of Japan used their majority to get the bill to pass through the House of Councilors. The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party voted against.

Under the revised law, nursing home residents will be required to shoulder much heavier burdens, and services for those who have slight disabilities may be excluded from insurance coverage.

At long-term nursing homes and other residential care facilities, residents cannot count on insurance payments for the cost of their meals and rooms. From October, users will be asked to pay about 400,000 yen a year for meals and room occupancy.

Users of day-care services will also bear the full cost for food from October.

In order to curb the nursing insurance payments, the government will limit the use of services by elderly people who require a mild degree of care, accounting for about half the total number of those who are certified as being in need of care, on the grounds that the present services are too extravagant for people who require only a mild degree of care.

Local support services will be established to force municipalities to shoulder the extra burdens instead of the government. - Akahata, June 23, 2005

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