Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday said that, if elected president, he would launch a long-term care insurance program jointly paid into by the insured, employers and the government.
Speaking at a weekly livestream, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate said that his program would address a number of flaws inherent in the government’s long-term care program.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Long-Term Care 2.0 initiative is primarily financed by the tobacco tax and inheritance tax, but the income from such taxes is unstable, he said.
Data provided by the Executive Yuan showed that the program services only 41 percent of the population in need of long-term care, he said, adding that the actual number is estimated to be even lower.
With the number of people needing long-term care expected to double to 6 million by 2030, the current initiative must be replaced with an insurance program in which the cost of long-term care is shared by the insured, employers and the government, he said.
Under Han’s proposed program, the insured would pay an income-based monthly premium that is roughly the cost of a lunchbox, said Lee Yue-chune (李玉春), Han’s policy adviser and professor of public health at National Yang-Ming University.
In the initial stage, the program would need NT$80 billion (US$2.58 billion), said former premier Simon Chang (張善政), who is the head of Han’s advisory team.
Tsai’s Long-Term Care 2.0 initiative costs about NT$30 billion per year and caters only to a small percentage of the population, he said.
In contrast, Han’s program would aim to provide the service to every citizen, including disabled newborns and young people who are unable to perform daily living activities, he said.
According to statistics, there are more than 80,000 people younger than 50 who cannot perform everyday tasks, he said.
The insurance program would not only help those needing long-term care, but also the caregivers and their companies, which would otherwise lose employees, he said.
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