Party: Pare younger taxpayer burden for senior citizen healthcare costs

April 9 , 2021

Isa queried Prime Minister Suga on a new healthcare bill on Apr. 8Isa queried Prime Minister Suga on a new healthcare bill on Apr. 8

The House of Representatives opened hearings on April 8 to revise the national health insurance law aimed at establishing an all-generation social services platform in response to Japan’s rapidly aging society and declining birthrate. Komeito’s Shinichi Isa questioned the government on its position regarding younger generations having to bear a growing share of social security costs to offset rising medical bills for the elderly.

Under the revised law, senior citizens aged 75 and above who are single with an annual income of more than 2 million or married couples who are both older than 75 with a combined income of 3.2 million yen a year, will have to pay 20% at the window on health insurance costs (versus 10% in the past) from the second half of fiscal 2022. Those belonging to this demographic represent some 20% of all elderly Japanese.

In response to Isa’s queries, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that his government is seeking to distribute as equitably as possible social security cost burden across all generations in an effort to ease what younger taxpayers are having to shoulder. Suga also promised to hold to ¥3,000 a month that senior citizens in the 20% bracket undergoing routine outpatient services with the hope of reducing their annual medical bills from ¥35,000 to ¥26,000 annually.

The government agreed to include such changes to the bill following Komeito’s active lobbying.