NGO calls for amendment to medical care act to increase social welfare funds

While most of the MCCs reported surplus increases in 2015, most of which came from non-medical services....

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - According to a survey conducted by the Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation last year, reported by the Chinese-language Liberty Times, over 80 percent of social workers believed public demand for medical relief fund has increased, prompting the foundation's Deputy Chief Executive Gary Chu to call for changes to the nation's Medical Care Act to raise the benchmark for the provision of welfare allowance by the nation's medical care corporations.

Under the current law, 10 percent of the "medical services income surpluses" made by the nation's medical care corporations (MCCs) is to be allocated to social welfare fund for use of health care services mainly for the poor and vulnerable.  

However, if the MCCs were to be required to allocate 10 percent of their “annual income surpluses” to the national social welfare fund instead of “medical services income surpluses,” the fund will be increased by NT$800 million to NT$1.8 billion a year, Chu said.

“That way, more funds would be available for helping families in need of medical relief,” he added.

Yang Chih-liang (楊志良), former minister of health and welfare, said that MCCs are tax-exempt institutions that enjoy certain privileges such as accepting donations from individuals or corporations, and therefore have a social responsibility to uphold, adding that he also supported the change of law to increase funding for social welfare.

While most of the MCCs reported surplus increases in 2015, most of which came from non-medical services, according to the latest financial statements.

The 10 percent of the "medical income surplus" that the MCCs are required to allocate to social welfare account for just 1 to 2 percent of their overall medical expenditures.

The Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation is calling for amendment to the nation’s medical care act in a bid to increase funding for social welfare, while also urging the social welfare standards to be more open and transparent.