Fri, Dec 03, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Health alliance attacks insurance funding legislation

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff reporter

The National Health Insurance Civic Surveillance Alliance spoke out against the proposed second-generation health plan on the eve of its legislative review, comparing it to “robbery.”

Following a premium rate increase on April 1 to alleviate the National Health Insurance Fund’s deficit, the Department of Health proposed a revised health plan that it said would promote a “fairer” insurance system.

The department’s bill will undergo cross-party negotiations in the legislature today and a third reading has been scheduled for Tuesday.

CALCULATIONS

The bill involves a new scheme for calculating premiums based on total household income, rather than the existing system that focuses on an individual’s salary. The change is considered essential to saving the cash-strapped program.

However, the alliance said that there were still controversial issues outstanding, and that proposed amendments to articles of the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法) failed to address these issues properly.

“Such an important legislation will have an impact on the country’s population for many years to come. It should be fully discussed instead of being rushed through the legislature,” alliance spokesperson Eva Teng (滕西華) said.

There are two versions of the plan being considered by the health department, she said, and that version B would count not only each household’s basic minimum premium, but another fee that multiplies the household’s total income to a proportionate percentage would be added.

OVERCHARGING?

The plan would result in families being charged double for their premiums, thereby “robbing” families of their money, she said.

Other issues that need to be ironed out before the reading include the income base used to calculate premiums per household and how to deal with inconsistencies in drug and medical treatment reimbursement.

The department said both versions of the plan were a result of a consensus built on the numerous hearings held on the bill and were not “invented.”

It said the proposal would be fully negotiated and scrutinized in the legislature.

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