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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 February 4 - 10  > JCP proposes 4-point reform in nursing-care system
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2009 February 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

JCP proposes 4-point reform in nursing-care system

February 10, 2009
It will be 10 years in April since the introduction of the nursing-care insurance program.

While nursing-care services have increased as a whole, an increasing number of elderly people find it difficult to use the program’s services because the nursing insurance premiums and fees for the services are so high that low-income earners cannot afford to pay for the services.

Today, about 140,000 people a year are forced to quit their jobs to take care of a family member.

Amid growing concern over the shortfalls of the program, the Japanese Communist Party proposed a drastic review of the nursing-care insurance program so that everyone can use it without anxieties.

JCP Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on February 9 explained the basic points of this 4-pillar proposal at a news conference held in the Diet:

1. Low-income earners should be eligible for a reduction or exemption of nursing-care insurance premiums or nursing-care service charges. In the future, the premiums will be paid according to users’ ability to pay and the services will be free of charge.

2. The present system to issue a certification of long-term care need should be abolished, and on-site nursing-care experts will judge whether one needs special care or not. The measure to not provide nursing-care services to people who need less care should be suspended. With more than 380,000 elderly people on waiting lists for such facilities as special nursing-care homes, each municipality should urgently draw up a 5-year plan to improve the situation around by the year 2015.

3. In order to improve the working conditions of workers who are involved in nursing-care services, remuneration for nursing care should increase by more than five percent with a separate increase of 30,000 yen in their monthly salary at government expense.

4. All municipalities should responsibly address the elderly people’s problems which are difficult to settle by the nursing-care insurance program alone.

“The JCP, in order to achieve the above program goals, calls for a systematic increase in the government share of contributions to 50 percent from the present 22.8 percent,” said Ichida.

He added that with this proposal, the JCP will make representations to every organization concerned and take up these issues both in the Diet and in local assemblies.
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