Koga Says! Statement on "Medical Care System Reform Bill" Enacted at the Diet
14 June 2006
Today medical care system reform-related bills were approved by a majority vote by the ruling parties’ members during the House of Councilors plenary session. It is highly regrettable that the problematic bills, which will greatly influence citizen’s lives including increases in burdens, were passed without sufficient deliberation or revision. Further, RENGO protests against the government and governing coalition parties who broke off deliberations yesterday using the Chairperson's authority and steamrolling the bills through the Health, Labor and Welfare Committee in the Upper House, just as in the House of Representatives.
Amid a growing tug-of-war between the ruling and opposition parties and with the end of Diet session in sight, the Upper House’s Health, Labor and Welfare Committee added twenty one supplementary resolutions to these bills, although they ended up being railroaded through the committee. Further, through the process of parliamentary deliberation problems were illuminated and important statements and data were brought out. This is due to the commitment of the Democratic Party of Japan to whose efforts we pay our respects to and whose commitment could create a foothold for future movements.
The supplementary resolutions contained many of RENGO's demands including the following:  Study these measures so that the opinions of insurers can be reflected in the management policies of regional-scale united bodies which will be in charge of the fiscal matters of new medical services for people over 75 years of age.  Pay adequate attention to low-income households when considering burdens on the elderly.  Think about explicitly showing the breakdown of insurance rates in order to curb those burdens when addressing senior benefits, etc.  Study the conditions of high-cost medical care system and see that insurers also make an effort to contribute to its convenient application.  Aim for full implementation of the receipt* by going online by the target year. (*detailed patient's statement of medical consultation fees provided by medical institutions to public medical care insurers when institutions claims for fees.)  Maintain a health-insurance system that covers all of its citizens. Do not diminish the range of public medical care insurance coverage lightly. Furthermore, it is very meaningful that through deliberation, we were able to succeed in: --drawing an answer from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare who said, "(I am) against any system of exemption of insurance liability." (a system which excludes the application of insurance to a certain amount but demands self-pay instead) --clarifying the main contents of 440 bill-related government/ministerial decrees and announcements, -- making the government propose the "projected amount of grants and social insurance premium rates in 2025."
The medical care system reform related bills gained approval and the legislation will be executed sequentially beginning October 2006 through October 2008. Although RENGO could not bring about the revision of those bills, RENGO will continue to strongly urge the government to enforce the contents included in the supplementary resolutions. RENGO will also continue to respond to government/ministry decree issues to be examined by the Central Social Insurance Medical Council in the HLW Ministry. In the future, efforts by prefectures and local authorities for the medical care system will be crucial in such fields as formulating medical care plans and creating plans to ensure appropriate medical treatment costs in our prefectures, as well as in the prefectural-level management of soon to be established "National Healthcare Insurance Society (tentative)." RENGO's role will be large. RENGO will continue to cooperate with the Democratic Party of Japan and keep activities running that will establish a safe and reliable medical care system, together with affiliates, local RENGO/local councils, and the Japan Federation of Senior Citizens and Retired Citizens Organizations.