Party helps ease “penalty” on infant medical care

January 12 , 2018

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recently reported that it would no longer be penalizing municipalities for offering their own subsidy to children in need of medical care. While the lifting of the so-called “penalty” will only apply to certain areas, the ministry agreed with Komeito’s assertion that the current national health insurance system—which was instituted to reduce the state’s cost burden—was in need for a remedy.

Under the revised system, medical subsidies for preschoolers that 1,741 local governments nationwide are presently extending will no longer be counted against the total cost of medical expenses the state reimburses to these municipalities. Instead, the national government will be allocating an additional 5.4 billion yen as part of the fiscal 2018 budget not only to cover the local subsidy, but also to serve as an additional revenue source for municipalities (albeit limited to fund programs combating issues related to the declining birthrate).

Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi was the first call for the change in February 2015, which was followed later that year by a series of discussions with local governments and municipal assembly lawmakers.