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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its two non-Cabinet allies — the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake — agreed in principle August 22 to create a new health insurance system solely for people 70 or older.

The scheme will place a heavier financial burden on the elderly, who are currently protected from the full cost of medical costs and are required to pay much less for their treatment than younger patients. Of the nation’s annual medical bill of 27 trillion yen, about one-third is spent on medical treatment for people in the 70-plus age bracket. However, about 70 percent of the cost of medical treatment for that age group is paid by younger generations.

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