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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 19 - 25  > Abe’s 2019 economic and fiscal policy sticks to cutbacks in social welfare services
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2019 June 19 - 25 [ECONOMY]

Abe’s 2019 economic and fiscal policy sticks to cutbacks in social welfare services

June 24, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Abe Cabinet has decided on the Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2019. The Basic Policy states that the consumption tax rate will be increased to 10% in October and that the government will continue to curb social security expenses.

The streamlining of social welfare was included also in the past annual basic policies. However, this year’s policy uses abstract expressions in this regard and does not directly mention increases in patients’ burden of medical costs and nursing-care charges. News media presume that this is in order to avoid causing adverse effects in the ruling bloc’s campaigning for the Upper House election next month.

Nevertheless, the Abe Cabinet is enthusiastic to further slash social security services. The 2019 Basic Policy states that the government will strengthen the foundation of social security programs by 2022 when baby boomers turn 75. The Abe Cabinet in last year’s Basic Policy designated the fiscal years of 2019-2021 as the “special period for improving fiscal health of the government” and wrote up a roadmap to achieve this goal at the end of 2018. The roadmap proposes revising social security programs which will impose more financial burdens on the general public, such as an increase in the rate of payment for medical bills paid by the elderly aged 75 and over and a limitation of nursing-care services for elderly people with less severe conditions.

The 2019 Basic Policy states that based on the road map, the government will later this year discuss what reforms are necessary in medical care, nursing-care, public pension, and other social welfare services, and compile comprehensive key policies and measures to be implemented under the 2020 Basic Policy. According to this schedule, the House of Councilors election takes place before the government starts discussing policies for drastic cutbacks in social welfare programs. Evidently, what the Abe government intends to do is so anti-people that the government could not dare to explain to the voters in the upcoming election about the measures in this year’s Basic Policy.

Furthermore, the 2019 Basic Policy proposes discouraging local governments from implementing their own measures designed to protect people’s livelihoods from heavier burdens in national health insurance premiums. The Basic Policy goes counter to what the general public really need.

Past related article:
> Households face heavier national health insurance tax burden amid falling income [February 6, 2019]

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