Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Legislators criticize plan to provide care insurance

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators criticized the “long-term care insurance” plan yesterday, saying that the wage difference between domestic and foreign caregivers would cause domestic workers to lose their jobs.

The Executive Yuan had said that it commissioned the Council of Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) to draw up a comprehensive proposal to set up an insurance program for long-term care for senior citizens by the end of this year.

About 10 percent of the population is aged 65 or above, but that number will increase to 22 percent in 10 years, said Yang Chih-liang (楊志良), vice president of the Taichung Healthcare and Management University and a participant in drafting the proposal.

At the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee meeting yesterday, lawmakers questioned officials from the CEPD, Ministry of the Interior, Department of Health and Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) about the insurance program.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chiech-ju (陳節如) expressed strong opposition to allowing foreign workers to participate in the program.

“At times of such high unemployment, the government should ban foreign workers [from the program] and help domestic workers find jobs,” she said.

DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) urged government officials to evaluate the plan based on its impact on female workers. Because long-term caregivers are usually women, if the program became institutionalized or profit-oriented, the working conditions of female caregivers could be adversely affected, she said.

CEPD Chairman Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝) said, “[The system] will not leave out domestic workers. Every [worker] will have to be certified and equally skilled, but because domestic workers can speak [Chinese], people will be more willing to use domestic laborers.”

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