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Health insurance premiums will increase for lower-income elderly but decrease for rich elderly


   At a House of Councilors welfare committee meeting on May 10, Japanese Communist Party representative Koike Akira criticized the medical insurance system for the elderly commencing next April as extremely unfair because it will impose heavier burdens on low-income people while reducing premiums paid by wealthy people.


   Under the new system, health insurance premiums will be charged to all citizens who are 75 years old or older.


   According to Koikefs calculations, premiums for elderly citizens with an annual income of less than seven million yen will increase compared to that under the current system. For example, those who annually earn three million yen will have to pay 41,000 yen more.


   On the other hand, premiums for those who earn more than eight million yen will decrease. Income earners of more than 20 million yen will pay 517,000 yen less.


   Koike pointed out that rich people like executives of large corporations will bear significantly less burdens.


   Koike also criticized the government plan, starting next April, to deduct national health insurance premiums for senior citizens (65 or over) in advance from their pensions.


   Showing his calculations that illustrated that an elderly resident living alone in Osaka City on a 15,000 yen monthly pension will have to pay nursing care and health insurance premiums of 4,413 yen a month, he said, gThis government will deprive this person of 30 percent of his pension.h


   Health Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo said, gWe will try to avoid deducting more than 50 percent of pensions.h Koike criticized him by saying, gThis amounts to a violation of the right to live guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.h                                  - Akahata, May 11, 2007



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