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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 December 10 - 16  > Lower House committee approves bill to issue short-term health insurance cards to households with children
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2008 December 10 - 16 [WELFARE]

Lower House committee approves bill to issue short-term health insurance cards to households with children

December 11, 2008
The House of Representatives health committee on December 10 unanimously approved a bill to issue short-term health insurance cards to households that are denied National Health Insurance Cards because parents were found to be in arrears on the payment of insurance premiums.

Under the current National Health Insurance Law, households that have had their health insurance cards invalidated because they are in arrears on insurance premiums will be issued temporary certificates. However, certificate holders need to pay in cash for any medical treatment they receive at hospitals or clinics, and later receive the portion of the cost covered by the insurance.

If the bill to revise the National Health Insurance Law is enacted, households with children up to the age of entering junior high school can receive medical treatment with six-month temporary health insurance cards.

Since the adverse revision of the National Health Insurance Law in 1997, many people who did not pay their health insurance premiums for more than a year have had their health insurance cards invalidated.

Under this circumstance, the number of low-income households without health insurance cards has increased due to the heavy burden of the national health insurance premiums payment.

The Japanese Communist Party in the Diet has demanded a solution to the issue of children in households without health insurance cards.

JCP activities in the Diet and grassroots struggles forced the Health Ministry to conduct a survey.

The recent survey shows that more than 33,000 children are without health insurance. Public calls for relief measures to be taken to relieve children without health insurance have been growing.

Prior to the vote at the committee meeting, JCP Takahashi Chizuko urged Health Minister Masuzoe Yoichi to change the present policy to assist any person whose insurance cards is invalidated, not just households with children.

Masuzoe promised to consider necessary measures on a case by case basis.
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