Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said he expected Minister of Health Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) to stay in the Cabinet, amid speculation that Yaung planned to resign next month as a result of the legislature’s failure to pass a National Health Insurance (NHI) reform bill during this month’s provisional meeting.
“As far as I know, he feels obliged to push the reform of the NHI. He will do his best to help the bill clear the legislative floor,” Wu said.
Lawmakers wrapped up their second special session of the summer recess on Monday after opting to postpone the review of the insurance bill until early December because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) disagree on how to reform the finances of the health insurance system.
Legislators have scheduled the bill for a second reading on Dec. 3 and a third reading on Dec. 7. The two sides have agreed to resolve the issue by then.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said on Monday that while Yaung regretted the postponement, he had accepted the decision to review the bill after November’s special municipality elections.
Nevertheless, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday that Yaung planned to resign after a trip to the US early next month.
Yaung declined to confirm or deny the speculation when asked for comment after he briefed the Executive Yuan on NHI reform yesterday morning.
He had submitted his resignation after the legislature failed to pass the reform bill in March, but Wu did not accept his resignation.
Legislators across party lines said Yaung should not step down.
DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said it would be inappropriate for Yaung to resign over the delay because it would seem as if he were threatening the legislature.
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) also said Yaung should not use the specter of his resignation to threaten the legislature.
Wang said there was no need for Yaung to step down.
“Why does he need to? The legislature decided during the provisional session to pass the bill on Dec. 3 and 7,” Wang said.