Japan social security reform proposal seeks to double contributions from seniors

A government panel released a social security system reform proposal Friday calling for greater contributions from the elderly and high-income earners as well as other reforms to make the system more sustainable.

The draft, released by the National Council on Social Security System Reform, seeks to raise payments by patients aged between 70 and 74 at hospitals to 20 percent of total medical costs from the present 10 percent and to separate people requiring less nursing care from insured nursing care services.

For high-income earners, it calls for raising direct payments for nursing care services from the present 10 percent of total costs, a tax on their retirement income and health insurance premiums.

The council will finalize the proposal Monday for its submission to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.

The draft proposes that payments for expensive medical care services be raised for high-income patients and lowered for low-income patients and that nursing care insurance premiums be lowered for low-income earners aged 65 or more.

It will also propose that the national health insurance program, currently managed by cities, towns and villages, be run by prefectures.

The report will say that the transfer of authority should be made before the government’s next medical program, starting in fiscal 2018, on condition that the government work out measures to get the health insurance system out of chronic deficit.

The draft asks the government to consider a raise in the pensionable age as a medium- to long-term challenge.

It does not include a new pension system or the abolition of a special health care system for people aged 75 or older, both of which were proposed when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party returned to power in last December’s Lower House election.

  • Steven R. Simon

    Simon says a better solution to the Social Security contribution base issue is to ban all abortions on and after the on-set of fetal heart beat and brain wave activity.