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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 April 15 - 21  > Number of hospital closures triples in five years
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2015 April 15 - 21 [WELFARE]

Number of hospital closures triples in five years

April 17, 2015
The number of medical institutions that discontinued seeing patients increased by more than 10%, reaching a record high of 347 in 2014 since comparable data began in 2007, survey results by private credit research agency Teikoku Databank showed.

Successive governments reduced its remuneration paid to medical institutions for their medical services four times in six years from 2002 with the aim of curbing government medical spending. In addition, the state had patients pay higher medical bills, thus discouraging them from hospital visits. As a result, the number of hospitals, clinics, and dental clinics closing their doors tripled between 2009 and 2014.

In April 2014, the government again made a cut in the remuneration while raising the consumption tax rate. Medical facilities suffered a heavy blow as medical fees are consumption-tax-free and clinics cannot shift onto patients the increased cost of purchasing medical equipment and supplies.

The Abe government’s push for another consumption tax hike scheduled for April 2017 and even lower welfare spending will further deprive people of access to medical care.
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