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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 March 11 - 17  > 90% of disaster evacuees calling for reinstatement of free medical program
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2015 March 11 - 17 [WELFARE]

90% of disaster evacuees calling for reinstatement of free medical program

March 12, 2015
An Akahata survey has found that 90% of victims of the 2011 disaster want the state to reinstate free medical and nursing-care services to them.

The central government in September 2012 terminated the exemption for medical and nursing-care charges for disaster evacuees. Although some disaster-affected local governments continue the exemption measure, access to the measure depends on evacuees’ income levels and the extent of damages they suffered.

A 68-year-old woman in Fukushima’s Soma City said, “I can’t receive the free medical service anymore because I’m covered by my son’s health insurance program. I feel the heavy weight of medical fees as the state reduced my pension benefits.”

In response to the Akahata inquiry, a 74-year-old woman living in Miyagi’s Ishinomaki City complained that her municipality excluded her from its free medical program after it purchased her land which was designated by the municipality as a disaster hazard area.

Exemption from payment of medical and nursing-care fees is a lifeline for disaster evacuees whose constitutional right to live is already being infringed upon.

A 68-year-old man in Otsuchi Town in Iwate Prefecture said, “I have asthma. I need to see my doctor two or three times a month. Without the exemption, I have to pay about 10,000 yen.”

Past related articles:
> Abolition of free medical program threatens disaster victims’ lives [September 11, 2013]
> Disaster victims call for free medical program to be continued [March 8, 2013]
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