The Legislative Yuan is to discuss legal amendments to Article 22 of the Act Governing the Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) that would see Chinese students given 40 percent medical coverage through the National Health Insurance (NHI) program while in Taiwan.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said that it is seeking to put the motion to a vote, but National Taiwan University Hospital department of gynecology doctor Shih Jin-chung (施景中) has said the measure panders to China.
Shih wrote on Facebook that the KMT is “forcing” a vote after the government last month announced that it would cut back on supplementary premiums for the NHI program and is testing an almost bankrupt NHI program with the central government on the edge of reaching its debt ceiling.
The government is spending taxpayers’ money by placing Chinese students and Chinese white-collar workers under 40 percent NHI medical coverage, but these recipients would not feel gratitude as many of them are richer than the average Taiwanese, Shih said.
“I would raise both arms in support if the KMT was spending its own money [if the vote passes],” Shih wrote, adding that he was looking forward to the day the government would pay the NHI fees for Taiwanese who cannot afford it.
Shih also wrote: “Is the KMT government seeking to make a dog’s dinner of Taiwan and leaving our future progeny, a future generation that is already seeing a decline in birth rates, to clean it up?”
Shih said that the NHI program was conceived to help disadvantaged people, adding that the government was giving taxpayers’ money to Chinese students who are applying for NHI compensation after visiting medical facilities outside of Taiwan.
“[Our] generous NHI, generous government, generous KMT; how Taiwanese are swimming in money. I cannot but weep tears at the thought of my future progeny when writing this,” Shih wrote.
Addressing KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng’s (吳育昇) comments that the measure was to realize “universal human rights,” Shih said that the “universal values” that should be promoted are those that people get what they pay for.
Shih said that people studying in the US more than a decade ago had to pay insurance fees, equivalent to NT$15,000, out of their own pockets.
“Does the US not have ‘universal values?’ I think not,” Shih wrote.
Netizens have also criticized the move, saying that the KMT should beware on Jan. 16 — the day of the combined presidential and legislative elections — and that the NHI is like a tax and foreigners should not share the same privileges as Taiwanese.
Additional reporting by Liu Fen-ju
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