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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 April 22 - 28  > Bill to increase medical insurance premiums passes Lower House committee
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2015 April 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

Bill to increase medical insurance premiums passes Lower House committee

April 24 & 25, 2015
A bill to revise the medical insurance system was rammed through the House of Representatives Welfare Committee on April 24 by majority vote. The Japanese Communist Party opposed the bill, arguing that it will lead to increasing the premiums of the National Health Insurance and reducing medical services.

JCP lawmaker Horiuchi Terufumi said that it is unacceptable to railroad through a measure involving many revisions to the current system after only four days of Diet discussion.

The bill intends to shift municipalities’ fiscal responsibility for the National Health Insurance Program to prefectures. Pushed by citizens’ movements and JCP local assembly members, a number of municipalities have introduced independent measures to keep the insurance premium at an affordable level. Under the new system, there is no guarantee that municipalities will be able to come up with sufficient financial resources to maintain their independent measures.

In a Diet session hearing unsworn witnesses held on the previous day, Osaka Council for Promotion of Social Security representative Terauchi Junko pointed to the fact that even now 3.6 million households, about 17% of all households covered by the insurance program, are in arrears with their premiums. “This bill will threaten people’s lives as well as further increase poverty,” she said.

The bill will also require each prefecture to come up with plans to reduce the number of hospital beds and curtail public medical expenses. JCP parliamentarian Takahashi Chizuko stressed that it is outrageous to cut down on services for the general public while forcing them to shoulder further financial burdens.

Past related article:
> Stop carelessly seizing bank accounts of people in arrears on public health insurance payments: JCP Koike [November 7, 2014]
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