Regarding the Jan. 23 Kyodo article “U.S. won’t breach ‘mixed treatment’ medical insurance rules in TPP talks“: It would seem to me that the Japan Medical Association (JMA), which consists of mainly nonhospital physicians, should seek the opinion of citizens and hospitals before making pronouncements on mixed-treatment restrictions. The health ministry could easily control and approve a process for hospitals wishing to provide such treatments.
Many patients seeking access to cutting-edge and proven technologies not yet approved in Japan are denied options in which the cost is split between national insurance and out-of-pocket payments. The all-private payment or all insurance payment regulation (no commingling) is severely restricting patient choice.
Regardless of the discussions over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, if the JMA and health ministry are concerned about cash-strapped hospitals going under, perhaps advocating exemptions for hospitals from consumption tax increases and the planned 17 percent increase in electricity rates is a better strategy than blocking the latest medical advances except for the super-rich.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.