Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 8 News List

KMT should not sell out NHI system to Chinese

By Kot Chun 葛雋

On April 24, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆) and 14 other KMT lawmakers proposed that the regulations for granting family members of Chinese spouses permanent residency in Taiwan be relaxed, on the grounds that their parents might need long-term care or home care services.

They retracted the proposal two days later following a massive public outcry over the risks of sharing the nation’s healthcare resources with Chinese.

On April 29, Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇) posted on Facebook an image showing the waiting times at a Hong Kong hospital, urging Taiwanese to see the potential consequences of Chinese patients eating up National Health Insurance (NHI) resources.

The picture from Hong Kong’s North District Hospital Specialist Outpatient Clinic shows that patients have to wait 28 months for an ultrasound scan, 20 months for a CT scan and six months for nuclear medicine imaging.

As a Hong Kong resident, I can say that the waiting times look rather promising in comparison with some other public hospitals in the territory, where people have to wait even longer.

I live in New Territories West and usually see a doctor at Tuen Mun Hospital, where I would have to wait 29 months for cataract surgery and 125 months — more than 10 years — for knee replacement surgery.

If I were to suddenly have an ear, nose and throat problem, and a physician from the general practice department suggested a referral to the otolaryngologist for further checks, I would be on the waiting list for 58 weeks. The waiting list for an ophthalmologist is even longer: 68 weeks.

Hong Kongers have become indifferent and inured to the issue, because they have been forced to accept 150 new immigrants per day from China since July 1, 1997, when the UK handed over the territory to China, in addition to large numbers of employees working at Chinese businesses, foreign laborers and Chinese students who have swarmed into Hong Kong over the years.

Over the past 20 years, more than 1 million Chinese have immigrated to Hong Kong for “family reunions.” It would be surprising if Hong Kong’s medical system had not become monopolized by Chinese and collapsed.

To one’s bewilderment, some Taiwanese Internet users have cast doubt on the picture’s authenticity, saying that it must be fabricated.

These people are either too naive or they have ulterior motives: They are either members of the “50 cent army” — Internet users hired by the Chinese Communist Party to manipulate public opinion — or aloof nerds who never leave home. They are, in a nutshell, blind to reality.

I would advise Huang, Yen and other KMT lawmakers to think twice before planning to sell out Taiwan.

In any case, they should never sell out the nation’s health insurance system and medical resources, which are so closely related to their personal interests.

Kot Chun is a writer from Hong Kong.

Translated by Chang Ho-ming.

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