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DPP condemns DOH plans for health insurance hikes

DPP condemns DOH plans for health insurance hikes

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party called on the Department of Health Thursday to force local governments to pay back health insurance arrears before hiking premiums for ordinary citizens.
DOH Minister Yaung Chih-liang said the premiums should rise this year to cover the system's deficit, though lower incomes would not have to pay the increase. He said his department would present its proposals to the Executive Yuan before the Lunar New Year on Feb. 14.
For years, major local governments such as Taipei City failed to make expected payments into the national health insurance system. The DPP has repeatedly accused the central government of avoiding demanding the money from the capital because it is also run by the Kuomintang.
After the hikes, about half the people would see an increase equal to the price of a lunchbox, Yaung said, while people making less than NT$30,000 a month would not see any change to their premiums.
The DPP turned his comparison against him Thursday. The raise amounted just to the price of one lunchbox, but in a family of four, this amounted to the price of three or four lunchboxes, said DPP lawmaker Huang Sue-ying. The opposition legislator said the rising fees would increase the psychological pressure on citizens.
President Ma Ying-jeou threw his support behind Yaung.
"People who have the ability should bear more of the burden," Ma said at a news conference during his visit to Honduras.
The hike promise received less sympathy from KMT lawmakers, who foresaw serious electoral fallout from Yaung's statements. The ruling party lost ground to the DPP in the Dec. 5 county and city elections, and the opposition won all three legislative by-elections on Jan. 9.
The KMT is facing another round of four difficult by-elections on Feb. 27, with legislator Lo Shu-lei predicting problems following Yaung's public talk of more expensive health insurance.


Updated : 2021-06-15 21:33 GMT+08:00