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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 3 - 9  > JCP Kira urges government to ensure medical services for children in households with no public health insurance card
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2019 April 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

JCP Kira urges government to ensure medical services for children in households with no public health insurance card

April 5, 2019

Grilled by Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kira Yoshiko, Prime Minister Abe on April 4 at an Upper House committee meeting said that the government will ensure medical services for children in households in arrears on public health insurance payments.

JCP Kira at the House of Councilors Audit Committee meeting pointed out that taking away National Health Insurance cards from parents who fall behind in their premium payments will lead to their hesitation to take their children to a doctor, which endangers children’s lives.

In response, PM Abe emphasized the importance of making medical services available to every child regardless of their family’s financial situation and protecting their lives and health. He said that the government is fully aware of the need to support children in needy families through various means such as a system for children to seek medical care even if their parents cannot afford national health insurance premiums.

Under the National Health Insurance program, as a penalty, if people fail to pay their insurance premiums for a certain period of time, their insurance cards will be confiscated by their municipal governments. These people will be given short-term insurance cards which expire in one-six months or in some cases, will receive qualification certificates which require the payment of the full amount of medical fees at the hospital or clinic.

Kira said that the system which the prime minister mentioned was established in 2010 to grant short-term insurance cards to children up to 18 years of age whose parents have no regular insurance card. She went on to say that this system aims to prevent a situation where children’s health will be harmed because their parents are delinquent in paying their insurance tax. Kira asked about the implementation of the system.

Welfare Minister Nemoto Takumi replied that the ministry instructs local governments to distribute short-term insurance cards to every eligible child through home visits and other measures.

The JCP lawmaker presented a case in which a single mother living in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward applied for a short-term insurance card for her child but her application was dismissed. She also stated that in Kofu City (Yamanashi Pref.), the city government neglected to distribute short-term cards to 143 eligible children.

Pointing out that municipal free medical programs only cover children with insurance cards, Kira said, “In order to protect children’s lives and health, the government should take measures to provide short-term insurance cards to children in need without delay.”

Past related articles:
> JCP Kasai calls for ‘sunshine’ approach to reduce number of people in arrears in national health insurance premiums [ February 21, 2019]
> 45% of schools in Osaka: family financial difficulties result in dental health problems among students [ February 24, 2017]
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