Members of the Control Yuan yesterday proposed corrective measures against the Department of Health for inappropriate implementation of increases to national health insurance premiums and patients' co-payments.
"The Control Yuan investigation found that the health ministry must draft more complete procedures for implementing the price-hikes after consulting with the Ministry of Justice, the grand justices and scholars," said Control Yuan Member Chang Teh-ming (
Chang referred to a compulsory procedure set down in the Central Administration Standards Law (
The copy, if confronting any objection from the legislature, may then become a legislative issue. With Cabinet approval, the DOH announced increases in health insurance premiums and patients' co-payments for medical costs last July and August. The price hikes bypassed the Central Administration Standards Law because the Executive Yuan said it believed that the DOH had some legal leeway to adjust payments within the national health insurance program.
The Control Yuan members warned yesterday that this kind of violation jeopardizes the power framework of the Constitution.
"The Control Yuan initiated an investigation because it is responsible for safeguarding checks and balances as stipulated by the Constitution," Chang told a news briefing yesterday afternoon. The Control Yuan ordered the administrate branch of government to follow procedure and forward a detailed copy of the price modifications to the Legislative Yuan.
Wrangling over prices between the two branches of government is not a matter of maintaining constitutional integrity and therefore does not require Control Yuan interference, but when the any ministry disregards legislative authority, the Control Yuan has to step in, Chang said.
Chang initiated the investigation with his colleague Hsieh Ching-huei (
Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (
DPP legislative caucus convener Chen Chi-mai (
The modifications were announced in accordance with laws since the National Health Insurance Law (
The party caucus is considering settling down the dispute through petitioning for a constitutional interpretation because the National Health Insurance Law may supersede the Central Administration Standards Law, he said.
The Control Yuan members emphasized that the corrective measures may serve to correct a long-standing conflict in statures.
"Both the KMT and DPP governments have failed time and time again to comply with laws" because it was unclear which law applies, Chang said.