KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

Statement on Approval of Medical Care System Reform Bill Package at Lower House

18 May 2006
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
  1. Today, in spite of objections by the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties, the ruling parties by majority vote adopted without revision a package of medical care system reform related bills during the House of Representatives plenary session and sent it on to the House of Councilors. (5 bills to partially amend the Health Insurance and other laws, and 7 bills to partially amend the Medical Care and other laws to establish a system that will provide high quality medical care service)
    Although deliberations over these bills at the Lower House's Health, Labor and Welfare Committee were far from sufficient, the ruling parties steamrollered them through the Committee by sheer numbers yesterday, something which we find extremely regrettable.
  2. The "medical care system reform related bills" which the government has proposed at this time is a package with as many as twelve amendments for blanket deliberation, all of which bring up a broad array of topics. Past deliberations, however, have focused on such issues as the uneven regional distribution of doctors, a shortage of doctors in pediatrics and obstetrics, as well as measures on cancer. Thorough deliberations have not been conducted for other revisions of the medical insurance system including: the launching of a new program of medical services for elderly people aged 75 or older; increasing individual burdens for the elderly through out-of-pocket medical fee increases when receiving treatment at medical institutions; and raising the out-of-pocket limits on individual burdens in a provision for high-cost medical care system.
  3. Nowadays, people's living standard levels have been polarized and many workers worry about their future. The number of people who cannot consult with doctors is on the rise because they cannot afford insurance premiums or the out-of-pocket portion of medical costs. Burden hikes targeting the elderly, such as abolishing fixed-rate across-the-board tax cuts and shrinking deductions for public pensions, fosters a sense of crisis in pensioners.
    We think that the following ideas must be withdrawn: establishing a new program of medical services for the elderly which is merely intended to adjust finances; raising the out-of-pocket medical fees for the elderly at medical institutions postponing problems as if there was burden increase in the beginning; and revision of the provision for high-cost medical care system.
  4. What the government should do now is to create a safe and reliable medical care system for its patients and citizens and the Diet has a responsibility to take the necessary time in undertaking these deliberations in order to bring this about.
    RENGO will beef up its proactive stance anew to opposition parties including the Democratic Party of Japan so that sufficient deliberations at the House of Councilors will be conducted on the unresolved issues under discussion at the House of Representatives. In order to realize pro-patient, safe and reliable medical care system reform, RENGO will work to observe the Diet proceedings and on-the-street activities together with affiliated organizations and local RENGOs. RENGO will tackle these activities with its full power in order to bring about RENGO’s demands.