Sun, Jan 16, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Groups opposed to draft bill on long-term care

PRICEY:A study showed that, depending on varying scenarios, the long-term care insurance plan could cost anywhere from NT$50 billion to NT$100 billion

Staff Writer, with CNA

Civic groups have expressed their opposition to draft legislation pertaining to long-term care insurance and services over concern that using an insurance system to cover long-term care expenses would not be financially viable.

Sun Yu-lien (孫友聯) of the Taiwan Labor Front said he believed that the best solution would be for the government to provide long-term care services for the disabled, financed by income tax revenue.

Sun said that the proposed long-term care insurance system, on the other hand, would subject the nation to a very heavy financial burden, similar to the deficit-ridden national health insurance system.

CAMPAIGN PROMISE

Promoting long-term care insurance and services was one of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) campaign promises during the presidential election in 2008, while the Department of Health was tasked with drafting legislation on the issue.

According to the health deparment, last year it delivered two draft bills related to long-term care insurance and services to the Executive Yuan for approval.

The insurance bill was later sent back to the department while heated debates took place about proposals to introduce a second-generation national health insurance reform plan to deal with the insurance system’s financial woes.

The bill was returned because the Cabinet wanted the new long-term care plan to be coordinated with the second-generation national health insurance system, health department adviser Chu Tong-kuang (曲同光) said.

PUBLIC SUPPORT

According to a department study last year on the need for long-term care services nationwide, 64 percent of respondents said they supported a new insurance plan to cover long-term care expenses.

The report also estimated that if such an insurance plan were carried out this year, it would require between NT$47.7 billion (US$1.64 billion) and NT$102.4 billion, depending on different scenarios, to be fully financed.

COSTS TO RISE

In addition, the health department study said the costs of the program would only increase as the nation’s society continues to age.

The department estimated that 3.3 percent of Taiwanese above the age of five — 600,000 to 700,000 people — were disabled, could not live on their own and required long-term care.

However, the government still had not been able to decide who should pay for the long-term care insurance system if it were to come into being.

Internationally, only the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and South Korea currently provide long-term care services through an insurance system.

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