Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Insurance bureau gets slap on the wrist

SHORT OF FUNDS The Control Yuan said health insurance premiums should have been increased and the National Health Insurance Bureau was guilty of negligence

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Control Yuan yesterday censured the Department of Health and the Bureau of National Health Insurance for dereliction of duty, requiring them to improve their financial management.

Negligence by the two bodies has led to financial problems resulting in a projected budget deficit of about NT$60 billion (US$1.833 billion) by year’s end, the Control Yuan said.

Control Yuan members Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏), Chien Lin Hui-chun (錢林慧君) and Liu Yu-shan (劉玉山) yesterday announced the results of their investigation, saying the insurance bureau had failed to take steps to increase its income and minimize costs.

The report found eight flaws in the management of the National Health Insurance by the bureau and the health department.

It said the two government agencies failed promptly to increase health insurance premiums when the conditions were appropriate for an adjustment, even though the hike was within their authority under the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法) and would not have required legislative approval.

“This problem has existed for years and the health department has been [asked to correct it] several times,” Cheng said.

In accordance with the Control Act (監察法), the department and bureau must present proposals to correct the flaws within two months.

Cheng said he would not rule out impeaching incoming health department minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良), who is expected to succeed Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) today, if the health department fails to correct the problems.

Yeh resigned to run in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) primary for the Hualien County commissioner election.

The health department was also accused of disregarding a statutory mechanism to ensure the sustainability of the insurance system when it approved a proposal from the insurance bureau to exempt it from appropriating reserve funds.

Meanwhile, the Control Yuan issued corrective measures to 14 government agencies, including the Executive Yuan, for inadequate policies to prevent flooding.

The ruling followed an investigation — conducted by Control Yuan member Gau Fehng-shian (高鳳仙) — into flooding caused by Typhoon Kalmaegi in July last year.

Separately, the Control Yuan yesterday censured the Taipei County Government for negligence.

The county government failed to correctly examine a construction license awarded to the “Banqiao New Station Special District” that resulted in the local tax collection agency wrongly granting the county authorities tax benefits.

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