Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Stop new NHI premium, capital gains tax: DPP

‘BAD POLICIES’:The supplementary premium policy would only cause confusion and injustice, while the tax would cause market instability, the opposition said

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday urged the government to cancel a supplementary insurance premium policy and a securities capital gains tax that will take effect on Jan. 1.

“We have reminded the administration of [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) many times about bad policies, such as the price increases for fuel and electricity. Today we would like to urge Ma to call off policies that would create more public outrage,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

The controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) supplementary premium policy is unjust and unfair, and would jeopardize fiscal sustainability, in addition to causing public confusion because of its complex rules, Su said.

The capital gains tax is even worse, Su said, saying it would only cause instability on the stock market and that it would not be able to generate extra tax revenues.

That is why the DPP is calling on the government to revise or drop both measures, he said.

The DPP tackled the impact of the NHI supplementary premium policy at the party meeting, with party think tank chief executive Lin Wan-i (林萬億) briefing members on how the mechanism works.

The measure was introduced to help the financially stricken National Health Insurance Program, with a goal of generating an extra revenue of NT$23.6 billion (US$810 million).

The initial design of the premium calculation was based on household income, but it was overturned by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, Lin told reporters after the meeting.

With household income taken out of the equation and the general premium rate lowered from 5.17 percent to 4.91 percent, the likelihood that the Department of Health (DOH) would attain its financial goal would be “highly questionable,” he said.

The policy could also expose the socially vulnerable to abuse, including those who have to work part-time, because under the new system they would have to pay a 2 percent premium on their additional income, Lin said.

Moreover, the premium rates for full-time and part-time workers in the same profession under the new system are different — a violation of the principle of fairness as stated in the Constitution, he said.

Lin also took the DOH to task, saying it seemed to be adjusting its policy based on public opinions without regard for legal consistency.

“For example, the DOH previously proposed that those insured would have to pay a 2 percent premium on any additional income over NT$2,000. That threshold was later raised to NT$5,000 after a public outcry,” Lin said.

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