Tue, Dec 14, 2010 - Page 1 News List

DPP blasts government for ‘belittling’ legislature

ENDLESS REVISIONS:The party avoided pointing fingers at the KMT over stalled plans to reform healthcare and blamed the executive instead

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Department of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang yesterday yawns during a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan as the controversy over the draft proposal of the second-generation national health insurance system continues.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday accused the government of “belittling” and “insulting” the legislature over the controversial second--generation healthcare reform plan, which has encountered a series of problems in recent weeks.

Repeating remarks made on Thursday, the DPP caucus called for Premier Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) resignation after speculation that the government, which failed to see the plan pass a legislative review last week, was now moving toward the adoption of a watered-down version of the bill.

“Revision after revision after revision ... that’s about all we have seen so far on this issue,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.

The healthcare reform bill, which is seen as an indispensable remedy for the mounting debts associated with the National Health Insurance Program, failed in part over fears of substantial healthcare premium increases.

Opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of Taiwanese did not understand the content of the proposed reforms, which would have calculated premiums on household rather than individual income. A major point of contention was the inclusion of “assumed” income levels for the unemployed.

DPP lawmakers have shied away from accusing their Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterparts and instead channeled their anger at the Executive Yuan, which they said kept forcing numerous revisions and tweaks on the proposal.

“Wu should be asking himself why his own policies haven’t been able to earn the trust of the people — or even that of lawmakers from his own party,” Pan said. “Instead, he thinks the blame lies with everyone but himself.”

Despite overt DPP support for second-generation healthcare reforms, Pan said the government had yet to let the DPP in on the content or timing of the revised proposal.

Until DPP lawmakers see the new revision, “we will not act as a rubber stamp,” Pan said.

Department of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) reported to the Executive Yuan yesterday, where he presented a modified version of the proposal and briefed KMT legislators in the afternoon.

Although a consensus appeared to have been reached within the party, some KMT legislators said Yaung would have to provide clarifications on a number of provisions.

Meanwhile, after a meeting with DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), senior DPP officials said the party would introduce its own proposal in the coming days.

DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said the party believed the current method used for calculating healthcare premiums was unfair and disproportionate to the salaried class.

Sources at the party said the DPP proposal would likely include higher premiums on individuals who obtain their income through secondary sources, including stock and real estate gains.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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