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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 18 - 24  > 63 people died because of delays in seeking treatment due to economic reasons
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2018 April 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

63 people died because of delays in seeking treatment due to economic reasons

April 19, 2018
The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) on April 18 released survey results showing that in its affiliated hospitals/clinics last year, 63 people died because they did not come to see doctors for economic reasons before it became too late.

The results brought into relief that the people's "right to life" as guaranteed in Article 25 of the Constitution has been violated under the Abe government which promotes budget cutbacks in welfare programs.

Min-iren surveyed 639 Min-iren institutions. If the survey had included all medical facilities in Japan, there would have been a considerable number of such deaths.

According to the survey results, unemployed persons accounted for 51% of those who died from delay in seeking medical attention. Adding non-regular and self-employed workers, the percentage went up to 71%. At the time of consultations with Min-iren doctors, 31 people did not have regular insurance cards or only had temporary insurance certificates with which they had to pay the full fee at hospitals. More than half of the 31 no longer had insurance due to arrears in paying premiums.

A part-time worker in his 40s, for example, had no health insurance card because he was unable to afford to pay the premiums. After he found difficulty in breathing, he went to seek treatment and received a short-term insurance card. However, he died of advanced lung cancer. Some, even though with proper insurance cards, hesitated to visit or to continue visiting medical institutions because of heavy medical bills.

Min-iren Secretary General Kishimoto Keisuke criticized the central government for having shifted its administration of healthcare insurance to local governments and said, "At the very least, the national government should fulfill its responsibility and review the handling of public healthcare management in order to protect the people's right to health. Min-iren nurses, doctors, practitioners, and staff will continue fighting for our main principle of medical care, which is to defend fundamental human rights."

Past related articles:
> Min-iren survey: Poverty holds people back from seeing doctors, resulting in 58 deaths [April 1, 2017]
> Expensive public health insurance premiums endanger people’s lives [February 14, 2016]
> Ruling coalition forcibly enacts bill to increase people’s burdens for public health insurance system [May 27 and 28, 2015]
> Gov’t insists on people’s self-help self-care efforts [September 10, 2014]
> List of Past issues
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