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Proposed hike in elderly medical fees needs great care in planning

18 1 0

Elderly Japanese aged 75 or older, in principle, pay 10 percent of their health care costs out of pocket.

The government is working on a reform to require some of them to shoulder 20 percent of the costs as a key ingredient of the envisioned social security system to ensure benefits for all generations.

The central question is how many of the elderly population--and who--should make larger out-of-pocket payments for the health care services they receive. The decision is about to be made.

The nation’s aging population and low birthrate makes it inevitable that older people are asked to make a greater contribution to the safety net if they can afford to do so.

But most people in this age group are trying to make ends meet on their modest pension benefits. No increase in their social security burden should limit their access to necessary health care.

The challenge for policymakers is striking a good balance between the financing needs of social security and the health care needs of the elderly to ensure a smooth and reasonable reform.

The decision should be made with great care and based on the realities of health........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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