Japan Press Weekly
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Diet begins discussing bill to abolish notorious health insurance system for elderly
The House of Representatives began discussing a bill to abolish the healthcare insurance system that discriminates against the elderly aged 75 and older on November 19 at its Health, Labor, and Welfare Committee meeting.
Four opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, jointly submitted the bill.
The new health insurance system came into effect in April. It forces the elderly aged 75 and older to shoulder the burden of insurance premiums by separating them from the existing health insurance program. Criticism of this system is increasing nationwide.
Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira took the floor on behalf of the proponent parties and explained why this health insurance system should be abolished.
In reply to ruling party lawmakers arguing that if it is abolished, the health insurance premiums will have to be increased, Koike said, gIf the new health insurance system for the elderly continues to exist, it will force the elderly to pay perpetually increasing costs since the amounts of premiums are subject to a review every two years.h
The bill submitted during this yearfs ordinary session of the Diet was passed in the House of Councilors on June 6 and was subsequently carried over to current extraordinary session of the Diet. - Akahata, November 20, 2008
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