The health ministry and the ruling coalition parties have agreed to consider dealing with the expected rise in the nation’s medical insurance burdens by examining a proposal to create an independent scheme for people over 75 years old.
Working-level officials of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the tripartite coalition also agreed to ask prefectural governments to join the municipal and national governments in sharing medical costs, officials said.
The coalition officials, led by former health minister Yuya Niwa, aim to come up Monday with an outline of reforms to the medical system, including a new medical system for the elderly, they said.
The officials of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party intend to have their secretaries general and policy chiefs formally adopt the outline and enable the Cabinet to approve it March 28, they said.
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi and his New Komeito party have already agreed on the creation of an independent insurance scheme for people aged 75 and older, but they are also calling for adjustments to the cost-sharing structure among subscribers aged between 65 and 74 based on their age and other factors.
The health ministry, which late last year proposed both the independent insurance and the so-called structural adjustment approaches, effectively dropped structural adjustment during the meeting, leaving the issue to be resolved within the ruling coalition regarding the 65-74 age group.
The ministry officials said the structural adjustment scheme would not be effective in containing a surge in medical costs, the officials said.
To help strengthen the financial footing of the envisaged independent insurance scheme, the ministry and coalition officials confirmed they will try to get prefectural governments involved, they said.
Municipalities are already taking part by operating national health insurance programs for noncorporate employees and their families.
On the government-run health insurance scheme for employees and families of companies that do not run their own programs, the coalition officials asked the ministry to consider reforms on the assumption it will maintain the 13 percent disbursement from public coffers.
Under Japanese law, all people, excluding those receiving social relief, are required to subscribe to one of four types of medical insurance.
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