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2014 May 14 - 20 [WELFARE]

Moneyless 57 people died due to delay in seeing doctor

May 20, 2014
The Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) on May 19 released survey results showing that 57 people died last year at Min-iren affiliated hospitals due to delay in seeing a doctor for economic reasons.

Of them, 32 were without proper healthcare insurance cards. They only had either a short-term insurance card or a temporary insurance certificate with which they once had to pay the full fee at hospitals because they had been in arrears on their national healthcare insurance premiums.

What is worse is that 23 did not even have any social insurance. They remained totally uninsured because they were unable to afford to pay premiums in the first place (48%) or they were stripped of their proper insurance cards after falling behind on paying the national healthcare insurance premiums (30%).

In the working-age group younger than 65, out of the deceased, 41% were unemployed and 34% had no full-time jobs. In short, 75% were forced to live on unstable incomes.

Min-iren Secretary General Kishimoto Keisuke said, “Economic difficulties and the absence of careful medical consultation systems are causing these avoidable tragic deaths.”

Min-iren has been proposing that the national government reduce the high premiums for national healthcare insurance, ease the medical burden patients are required to shoulder at hospitals, help improve consultation services provided by local governments, and help increase the number of municipal staff for the services.

Related past articles:
> 58 died from delay in seeking medical care due to economic reason [March 30, 2013]
> 67 died last year from delay in obtaining medical services due to financial difficulties [February 21, 2012]
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