Medical bills about to double

A bill to revise the Medical Insurance Law is now expected to be enacted within the current Diet session because top officials of the House of Councilors agreed June 9 to quickly put the measure to a vote.

It will be voted on June 12 at the Health and Welfare Committee and at a plenary session of the chamber June 13. Passage of the bill, which is expected to be amended slightly and thus will be sent back to the House of Representatives, is expected to clear the chamber before the current Diet session closes June 18, enabling the government to begin at least doubling patients’ medical bills.

The ruling camp plans to wrap up discussions on the amendment June 10. The revision is expected to be made in a way to reduce the financial burden on households with children aged 6 and under and elderly people with low incomes. Additional charges for prescription drugs are also expected to be made smaller.