Fri, Apr 06, 2012 - Page 3 News List

DPP attacks government on second-generation NHI

UNFAIR SYSTEM:The DPP legislative caucus demanded a revision of the supplementary premium regime, which would penalize workers in low-paying part-time jobs

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po speaks at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, drawing attention to differences between previous and current proposals for the second-generation health insurance premiums.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday made three demands for healthcare, asking the government apologize to the people, to revise “unfair” clauses in the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法) and for premium calculations to be based on total household income.

“The initial design of the premium calculation was based on household income, before several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators overturned the mechanism overnight,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

“Even former Department of Health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) admitted in a press conference the other day that he disagreed with the legislation passed last year,” Pan said.

“The DPP caucus does not rule out a proposal to amend the law again,” he said.

The controversial supplementary premium was added to the legislation simply for the purposes of increasing the premium base, but the unfairness of the premium calculation is obvious, DPP Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said.

“Five types of income have been picked to be charged with the supplementary premium, but capital gains and overseas income were not included,” she said.

Under the current calculation, blue-collar workers would have to pay a bigger supplementary premium than doctors and lawyers, Wu said, adding that bonuses of more than NT$2,000 would be charged, but not non-cash awards worth the same amount.

“Those who are familiar with accounting and the premium calculation would be able to evade the supplementary premium. At the same time, ordinary people and the underprivileged would not be able to do anything about it,” she said.

DPP Legislator Tsai Chih-chang (蔡其昌) described the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) program as a “patchwork program” with a lack of “overall planning.”

Yaung acknowledged that he was forced into accepting the previous amendment and the Department of Health is reportedly taking steps to formulate a third-generation NHI program based on household income, DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said.

“If that is the case, the department might as well abandon the controversial second-generation program and work on a fairer system,” Hsu said.

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