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Bill on health insurance coverage for Chinese students shelved

Bill on health insurance coverage for Chinese students shelved

A bill intended to include Chinese students in Taiwan in the country's National Health Insurance (NHI) program was shelved by the Legislative Yuan Friday amid strong objection from opposition lawmakers.

The Legislature was originally scheduled to review the proposed amendment to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, which would redefine Chinese students as "residents" rather than "visitors," as they are now designated in the act.

If the amendment is passed, Chinese students will become eligible for inclusion in the NHI program after six months in a Taiwanese school. Both the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the small minority party Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), however, objected to the bill.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming said the proposed amendment to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area should be considered together with another proposed amendment to the National Health Insurance Act, taking into account social fairness, reasonableness and the burden on the government finances.

Lai Shyh-bao, whip of the ruling Kuomintang caucus, said his caucus does not oppose having the two bills considered together and that therefore, the Legislature would not handle the issue of NHI coverage for Chinese students for the time being.

Education Minister Wu Se-hwa expressed regret over the legislators' decision. Wu said that currently, foreign students and overseas Chinese or Taiwanese expatriate students are included in the NHI program, and it is not appropriate to exclude only mainland Chinese students.


Updated : 2021-09-19 08:04 GMT+08:00