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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 July 29 - August 4  > 51 died because poverty prevents them from going to see a doctor
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2020 July 29 - August 4 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

51 died because poverty prevents them from going to see a doctor

July 30, 2020
The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) on July 29 released survey results showing that 51 people died last year because of delays in seeing a doctor due to economic reasons.

The latest Min-iren annual survey was conducted on 117 affiliated medical institutions.

In the survey, 22 of the 51 people had no valid national health insurance card because they fell behind with premium payments. It also found that despite having proper insurance cards or temporary insurance certificates, 20 of the deceased held back from seeking medical attention on the grounds that they could not afford to pay the medical fees.

One of the 51 deceased, a woman temporary worker in her 40s quit her job due to health problems and lived off her savings. She visited her municipality office to apply for public assistance, but her application was rejected. As her condition worsened, she searched some websites and learned that Min-iren-affiliated medical facilities run a government program to provide low-cost or free medical treatment to those who have financial difficulties. Finally, she decided to get medical help and went to a Min-iren hospital. At that time, all the money she had was 100 yen.

Min-iren Vice Secretary General Yamamoto Toshiko noted that the number of people who lost jobs due to the coronavirus crisis topped 30,000. She pointed out that it is highly possible that more and more people will fall into arrears with the expensive national health insurance and refrain from seeing a doctor, and demanded government measures to revise the current national health insurance program, including decreasing insurance premiums.

Past related articles:
> Min-iren survey: 77 people died in 2018 because of reluctance to go to hospital due to financial constraints [March 7 and 8, 2019]
> JCP Kurabayashi: Don’t take property away from people in arrears with national health insurance premiums [February 2, 2018]
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