Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 2 News List

DOH to boost effort to win support for revamped program


The Department of Health (DOH) will redouble its efforts to drum up support from all political parties for the implementation of a second-generation national health insurance program, Vice Minister of Health Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday.

Chen's remarks came in response to a media report that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun told the party's Central Standing Committee on Wednesday that it would be wrong for the government to implement the second-generation program now.

Yu made the remarks after Minister of Health Hou Sheng-mao (侯勝茂) delivered a report on the national health insurance policy during the weekly meeting.

Claiming that it is inopportune for the department to raise health insurance premiums and recover fees that were overpaid to local hospitals and clinics, Yu called on the government to cautiously address its national health insurance policy.

In response, Chen said that the DPP legislative caucus didn't oppose the second-generation program but cautioned the government against the difficulty in promoting the program at present as it "could easily be politicized."

As implementing the program is a government policy, the department will continue to discuss the issue with all political parties in order to win their support for the policy, Chen said.

The Executive Yuan referred a draft package of amendments to the National Health Insurance Law (全民健康保險法) to the legislature on May 3 to pave the way for an overhaul of the cash-strapped insurance system.

The premiums under the new program will be collected according to a household's total income instead of an individual's salary as is currently done, meaning that the changes could affect some 70 percent of the salary earners with medium- or low-incomes.

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