Wed, Jul 10, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Eric Chu unveils his birthrate policies

‘PRAGMATIC’ PROGRAM:Since women tend to get married later in life, Eric Chu said he would offer subsidies for unmarried women aged between 34 and 38 to freeze their eggs

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu yesterday promotes his birthrate policies at a news conference in Taipei to attract support on the second day of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential primary.

Photo: Tu Chien-jong, Taipei Times

Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said that he would offer new subsidies for assisted reproduction and egg-freezing procedures if elected president.

As the youngest of the five presidential contenders in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) primary, the 58-year-old former mayor said that he is aware that young people in Taiwan are most concerned about the nation’s declining birthrate, economic issues, freedom and democracy.

To boost the birthrate, he would increase government subsidies for assisted reproduction for married couples aged 34 to 40 if elected president, he told a news conference in Taipei.

While the government currently offers a NT$100,000 (US$3,206) subsidy for low-income married couples, he hopes to extend the benefit to more married couples within the age group who need the procedure, excluding wealthy ones, he said.

In addition, since women today tend to get married later in life, he would offer subsidies for unmarried women aged between 34 and 38 to freeze their eggs, he said.

The benefit would allow women to “get back their right to choose,” he said.

Both programs have been “pragmatically designed and would not result in having the government pay for everything,” he said.

To improve the economy, which has in part resulted in the low birthrate, he would promote business innovation and relax regulations that have restricted the development of start-ups, he said.

He would also insist that the nation remain free and democratic, he said.

“The younger generation are not opposed to China, but opposed to authoritarianism,” Chu said.

Separately, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) said that, if elected president, he would set up an insurance fund for disabled people to ensure they are covered.

According to statistics from last year, non-disabled people have an average of 2.5 insurance plans, while disabled people only have an average of 0.1 insurance plans, Gou told a news conference in Taipei.

With the population of disabled people in Taiwan at 1.17 million, “that is 1.17 million families” whose rights are negatively affected, he said.

Since insurance companies are unwilling to sell insurance to disabled people, the government must provide the service, he said.

“This is not charity, but ensuring that they have basic rights; it is not about business, but about social justice,” he said.

If elected, he would allocate a one-time government budget of NT$100 billion to set up a fund to provide insurance plans for disabled people, he said.

The funding would come from the government’s social welfare budget, the public welfare lottery program and the nation’s healthcare industry, which he plans to enhance and turn into a profitable global business, he said.

Many disabled people he personally knows are quite healthy, Gou said, adding that the fund could have a high rate of return.

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