Mon, Aug 12, 2002 - Page 2 News List

PFP lawmaker plans to protest health fee hikes

CNA , TAIPEI

PFP lawmaker Lin Hui-kuan (林惠官), president of the Chinese Federation of Labor (CFL), said yesterday that he will organize a rally to protest against the hikes to health insurance payments.

Lin said that he will call for the people to take to the streets on Aug. 27 to oppose a health-insurance policy that he says "robs the poor to help the rich, and places an extra burden on the average citizen."

Lin said that his legislative aides and the CFL have invited the representatives of labor unions, fishermen's and farmers' groups, and health insurance reform groups, as well as scholars and experts to work out a strategy to counter the fee hikes, scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1.

He said that the CFL will organize the rally, with the participation of trade unions, fishermen's and farmers' associations, and medical care reform foundations.

He estimated that 30,000 people will take part in the rally to vent their anger over the government's approach of passing the financial problems of the health insurance system on to the average citizen.

Lin said that if the people are not successful in blocking the implementation of the health-insurance hike, the government will continue to "use the pretext of health-insurance reforms to profit business interests."

He also urged the government to withdraw its price hike scheme and begin a rational debate on the appropriateness of the "health-insurance tax."

Under the new national health-insurance program, both premiums and self-payment fees will be raised. For the majority of those insured by the system, premiums will be increased from 4.25 percent to 4.55 percent of their salaries.

This means that the average premium will be increased by NT$40 per month for a government employee, by NT$34 per month for a trade union member, by NT$29 per month for the average worker and by NT$17 per month for members of farmers' and fishermen's associations.

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