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Japanese and U.S. businesses threaten the right to life
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

With a health insurance card, at present anyone can receive medical services and treatment of disease. The Japanese health care program provides the public with the right to receive medical care based on the right to life guaranteed in Article 25 of the Constitution.

The Koizumi Cabinet, however, wants to introduce "mixed medical services" that include both treatments reimbursable under the national health care system and other treatments that are not approved for reimbursement at present.

If implemented, it will charge high medical costs to patients and will be affordable for only wealthy people who will benefit from advanced medical technologies, new medicines, and comprehensive treatment. For anyone who cannot afford to pay high medical costs, they will be excluded from treatment.

The introduction of the "mixed medical services" is a demand of Japanese and U.S. business circles.

Business circles and large corporations in Japan have demanded that highly advanced medical treatments be removed from health insurance coverage. The Japan Business Federation argues that "mixed medical services" are aimed at curbing the government share and payment of medical costs, especially for the elderly.

Seeking to make as much profit as possible in the Japanese medical market, the U.S. insurance and health care businesses have put pressure on Japan to lift the ban on "mixed medical services." The U.S. Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry's Investment Initiative 2005 Report states that the U.S. government has expressed interest in lifting the ban on "mixed medical services" in a way that attracts private investment and requests the Japanese government to legally authorize commercial firms to provide medical services.

There is no public health insurance system that covers all of its citizens in the United States. Hospitals are run by for-profit businesses. The United States is leading the world in medical costs, but its average length of life is low.

For everyone to be able to receive needed medical care without anxiety, the Japanese Communist Party proposes that people's burden of medical expenses be reduced, that health care services provided by health insurance be improved, and that the government contribution to medical costs be increased.
- Akahata, February 27, 2006

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