Tue, Dec 19, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT opposed to plans to hike health insurance premiums

HARD TIMES Tsai Chin-lung said that families would suffer if plans to increase national health insurance premiums were carried out

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday voiced its opposition to a planned increase in national health insurance premiums by the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI).

It also accused the government of failing to help improve people's livelihoods.

KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) made the accusations at a news conference organized to protest the planned move by the BNHI.

The bureau said last Friday that it would raise the minimum insurance coverage -- the monetary limits covered as set out in a policy of insurance based on monthly salaries -- to help increase revenues for the cash-strapped national health insurance program.

Although the proposl would bring in an estimated additional NT$8 billion (US$245 million) per year for the BNHI to finance the money-losing national health insurance program, Tsai said that people's lives would be negatively affected if the move was implemented.

According to Tsai, the number of low-income families has almost doubled in the years since the Democratic Progressive Party came to power in 2000.

These people's lives were guarnteed to become tougher if the planned insurance coverage hikes were implemented, he said.

The number of low-income families totaled 86,702 at the end of the third quarter -- representing 211,975 people, a KMT caucus member reported.

KMT legislator Lin Teh-fu (林德福) blasted the BNHI for attempting to avoid legislative surveillance by planning to raise the health insurance premiums by means of lifting its insurance coverage for the insured, a move tht would not be approved by the legislature.

As much as NT$50 billion in the BHNI's medicine pricing system is the root cause of the health insurance program's worsening financial situation, but the bureau has failed to take any concrete measures to wipe out its shortfalls, he said,

Lin said that the KMT caucus firmly objected to the BHNI'Ds plans to increase health premiums.

KMT Legislator Tsao Er-chung (曹爾忠) urged the government to overhaul the national health insurance program and said that he objected to the government taking out its failures on the public.

More than 6.8 million insured individuals, the majority of them public servants, military personnel, laborers and farmers, would be in line to be affected by the planned increases in insurance coverage, a BNHI official said over the weekend.

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