Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 20 - 26  > Deaths due to refraining from seeking medical care increase for 3rd year in row
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2024 March 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Deaths due to refraining from seeking medical care increase for 3rd year in row

March 20, 2024

The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) on March 19 revealed that the number of people who died after refraining from seeing a doctor for financial reasons increased for the third year in a row.

Min-iren believes that the high cost of medical bills and an increase in the number of uninsured patients have led to this situation.

In a survey of 700 hospitals, medical clinics, and dental offices affiliated with Min-iren, the number of the deaths went up to 48 in 2023, up two from the 2022 survey.

Of the 48, 22 persons, accounting for 46%, were without proper national health insurance cards and 24 persons or 49%, despite having the cards, died because it was too late as they put off obtaining medical treatment due to financial concerns.

A man in his 70s who did not have a national insurance card was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With his sister paying the insurance premiums, he was given a short-term insurance card and began undergoing anticancer treatment. However, he gave up after one treatment because it required 50,000 yen per treatment. Then, he was found in a weakened state and immediately taken to the hospital, but his cancer was already terminal.

A cancer patient in his 80s gave up on treatment because he was worried that the medical bills would be unaffordable if he had to be hospitalized. Unable to bear the pain, he called an ambulance, but the cancer had spread to multiple organs by that time.

According to Min-iren, the 48 cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Min-iren representatives at a press conference demanded that drastic measures be taken in order to prevent the increase in uninsured people and that patients’ share of burden for medical costs be eliminated.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved