Alexa

Lawmaker proposes expanding health coverage to Chinese students

Lawmaker proposes expanding health coverage to Chinese students

Taipei, Aug. 26 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Ting Shou-chung proposed an amendment Sunday that would include Chinese students in Taiwan in the country's national health insurance program, but it drew a cool response from opposition legislators. Ting proposed revising Article 9 of the National Health Insurance Act to allow Chinese students studying in Taiwan to be covered under the national health insurance system after residing in Taiwan for six months. Under the existing law, foreign students who hold residence certificates and have been in Taiwan for more than four months can apply for a national health insurance card. Chinese students, however, are excluded from the program. "Any such exclusion represents discriminatory treatment and a disregard for the basic human rights of Chinese students since foreign nationals working and studying in Taiwan are covered by the national health insurance program," Ting said. The lawmaker dismissed concerns that the proposal would add to the money-losing program's financial burden, saying that there would not be many eligible Chinese students. Moreover, under the insurance program, premiums from young insurees generally subsidize care for the elderly. Thus, extending coverage to Chinese students is unlikely to lead to further financial woes for the program, Ting argued. Ting also defended the need for the proposal by arguing that discrimination against Chinese students would harm Taiwan-China relations and that contagious diseases contracted by Chinese students could be spread if the students were not insured and were unable to get treatment. Ker Chien-ming, the whip of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus, said his party will not make a similar proposal and described the measure as unnecessary. The KMT could have included Chinese students in the health insurance program by issuing an executive order without the need for an amendment, Ker said. But he indicated that his party would discuss legislative procedures after Ting submits his proposal to the Legislative Yuan. A DPP lawmaker, Wu Ping-jui, actually raised the idea earlier this month, but it drew mixed reviews from within his party, which has generally been cool to opening Taiwan's doors to students from China. With his proposal failing to win the backing of DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and the DPP's legislative caucus, Wu ultimately dropped his plan to officially propose it on the legislative floor. (By Sherry Tang and Kendra Lin)


Updated : 2021-03-08 17:51 GMT+08:00