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  • Japan's healthcare system too expensive for many: survey

    I thought that this might interest some people as complaints/questions about medical insurance seem to be very common around these forums.

    http://www.todayonline.com/articles/92614.asp

    I find it interesting that it seems low income earners and poor people are not protected by government health insurance. Apparently 2.6% of people in Japan have no insurance as they cannot afford the premiums and there doesn't seem to be a backup safety net. They think the numbers will rise in the future as the aging population and decline of the tax base means that the government needs to make serious reforms i.e. increasingly higher premiums and increasingly lower payouts. What I mean by safety net is that in Australia medicare low income earners don't have to pay premiums and get low cost medicine via the healthcare card. If you can find a doctor who bulk bills you don't have to pay any money for doctor's fees. Even in capitalist dog-eat-dog America I believe they have Medicare and Medicaid for poor people. I believe it is more the middle-class and working classes that get squeezed most (not poor enough to get government aid, not rich enough to pay for themselves). I could be wrong about the US though as I am not American.
    Japan is often described as a socialist country with a strong welfare system to the extent that they even support industries that are defunct and build bridges to islands with one person living on them to make sure they don't get left behind. I was always the impression that states that tend to the more socialist side tend to have universal free or almost free health-care systems and education systems (and high taxes ) e.g. European countries with a strong "welfare" state. So this is a bit surprising to me as I've seen articles that describe the LPD as the "Communist" party of Japan. So there is no medical safety net for the poor in Japan? It is beginning to seem to me that the socialist policies in Japan are different from those in the West. In the West it is more of a general support. That is it is seen as a right whoever you are and whether or not you have a job. So it is a blanket support and with a few exceptions e.g. farming, defense related industries is mostly aimed at individuals. There is protectionism but the general trend over the last few decades has been to gradually dismantle government protection. Even agriculture is starting to feel the pinch a bit. In Japan it seems to more predicate on the creation of jobs. So they support industries to provide jobs and the "welfare state" is more propping up of industries rather than support for individuals. A sort of indirect welfare so to speak. So they don't prvide the blanket protection that is a gainstay of Western style socialist countries. So there is no "safety net". What do people think of this analysis? What are your opinions? I could be completely wrong as I don't too much about Japanese culture. It's just my general observations from reading the news

    EDIT: Just had a look up on the web and it seems the % of people in America w/o health insurance is 15.7%. Those covered by government insurance e.g. Medicaid is 27.2%.

    http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/...th/005647.html
    Last edited by Thunder; 2005-12-30, 01:27 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Thunder
    I thought that this might interest some people as complaints/questions about medical insurance seem to be very common around these forums.

    http://www.todayonline.com/articles/92614.asp

    I find it interesting that it seems low income earners and poor people are not protected by government health insurance. Apparently 2.6% of people in Japan have no insurance as they cannot afford the premiums and there doesn't seem to be a backup safety net. They think the numbers will rise in the future as the aging population and decline of the tax base means that the government needs to make serious reforms i.e. increasingly higher premiums and increasingly lower payouts. What I mean by safety net is that in Australia medicare low income earners don't have to pay premiums and get low cost medicine via the healthcare card. If you can find a doctor who bulk bills you don't have to pay any money for doctor's fees. Even in capitalist dog-eat-dog America I believe they have Medicare and Medicaid for poor people. I believe it is more the middle-class and working classes that get squeezed most (not poor enough to get government aid, not rich enough to pay for themselves). I could be wrong about the US though as I am not American.
    Japan is often described as a socialist country with a strong welfare system to the extent that they even support industries that are defunct and build bridges to islands with one person living on them to make sure they don't get left behind. I was always the impression that states that tend to the more socialist side tend to have universal free or almost free health-care systems and education systems (and high taxes ) e.g. European countries with a strong "welfare" state. So this is a bit surprising to me as I've seen articles that describe the LPD as the "Communist" party of Japan. So there is no medical safety net for the poor in Japan? It is beginning to seem to me that the socialist policies in Japan are different from those in the West. In the West it is more of a general support. That is it is seen as a right whoever you are and whether or not you have a job. So it is a blanket support and with a few exceptions e.g. farming, defense related industries is mostly aimed at individuals. There is protectionism but the general trend over the last few decades has been to gradually dismantle government protection. Even agriculture is starting to feel the pinch a bit. In Japan it seems to more predicate on the creation of jobs. So they support industries to provide jobs and the "welfare state" is more propping up of industries rather than support for individuals. A sort of indirect welfare so to speak. So they don't prvide the blanket protection that is a gainstay of Western style socialist countries. So there is no "safety net". What do people think of this analysis? What are your opinions? I could be completely wrong as I don't too much about Japanese culture. It's just my general observations from reading the news

    EDIT: Just had a look up on the web and it seems the % of people in America w/o health insurance is 15.7%. Those covered by government insurance e.g. Medicaid is 27.2%.

    http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/...th/005647.html
    Just to clarify -

    I'm surprised the Medicaid figure is so high. Does that include Medicare? It shouldn't. They are different things from what I recall. Medicaid IS for poor people, but it's also for people unable to work, with severe health problems, etc. but who are too young to qualify for Medicare. As you note, though, they have to qualify based on low income. I wonder if Workman's Comp falls under this? Probably not (I don't know though and am wondering).

    Medicare, on the other hand, is for anyone over...65(?) who has paid into the system (or whose spouse has paid into the system). That's just a general description. Every year (on/near my birthday?), I get a statement from Social Security telling me how much I would get each month if I continued earning what I am now (though recent years have come up zero because of working here...have to look into getting those credits) and starting receiving benefits at different ages. It's all based on "credits" since the amount of money is unequal based on generation's salaries (of course).

    That's a great question -- Anyone have any idea how to get income posted for Social Security credits? Just thought of it now so, obviously, I haven't done a search. Just curious.

    Comment


    • #3
      Have you heard that there was a pension treaty concluded between Japan & the US recently? Not sure exactly how it works but if you are in a pension here you can have that attributed to the US social security scheme.

      Comment


      • #4
        The 'communist' myth about Japan, like the 'mercantilist' one, etc., just got perpetuated in Europe and other places to justify trade protectionism and rather overt racism.

        The worst part about insurance coverage is the current PM and his ruling clique have undercut it even more for the ones who could afford it, reducing coverage while increasing premiums. Supplemental could be had, and still can be had, through postal insurance (kampo), but you see the ruling clique are intent on privatising that for their and their friends private profit.

        The social welfare system here in Japan is taking hits and going down for the third time. Overall, the situation is better than the US--afterall, Japan doesn't have 20 million people completely outside the system (I don't think anyway). But the current PM won't be happy til it gets there. BTW, the man himself didn't know he had to make payments into the social insurance system, so he's tax cheat of a sorts, along with a liar about his education record. No wonder a scumbag like Bush could look him in the eyes and say he saw a 'good' man.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by iwantmyrightsnow
          Have you heard that there was a pension treaty concluded between Japan & the US recently? Not sure exactly how it works but if you are in a pension here you can have that attributed to the US social security scheme.
          I got this link off of a google search about the new "Totalization Agreement between Japan and the US."

          http://www.socialsecurity.gov/presso...s/US-Japan.htm

          The link doesn't seem to be working right now, that also goes for the Social Security on-line Website.......so I included a quote from another message board on this subject.
          It eliminates "double taxation" for Americans working for American employers, and the two social security systems can now share work history "credits" to determine someone's eligibility for benefits. That would mean, for example, if you paid into the US system for 8 years and then into Japan's system for 17 years, you then qualify for retirement benefits under both systems (the US system requires 10 years, Japan's 25 years). The actual amount of benefits from each system, however, depend on the actual earnings under each system, and may even be further reduced because of the formulas they use (for example, see "Windfall Elimination Provision").

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nick Halliday
            The 'communist' myth about Japan, like the 'mercantilist' one, etc., just got perpetuated in Europe and other places to justify trade protectionism and rather overt racism.

            The worst part about insurance coverage is the current PM and his ruling clique have undercut it even more for the ones who could afford it, reducing coverage while increasing premiums. Supplemental could be had, and still can be had, through postal insurance (kampo), but you see the ruling clique are intent on privatising that for their and their friends private profit.

            The social welfare system here in Japan is taking hits and going down for the third time. Overall, the situation is better than the US--afterall, Japan doesn't have 20 million people completely outside the system (I don't think anyway). But the current PM won't be happy til it gets there. BTW, the man himself didn't know he had to make payments into the social insurance system, so he's tax cheat of a sorts, along with a liar about his education record. No wonder a scumbag like Bush could look him in the eyes and say he saw a 'good' man.
            Would have to agree. Maybe another urban myth perhaps but an old private student is a leader in a national government union. He swears there are yak ties and that people in Lionhead's hometown area now it well, and that is why he continues to visit yaskuni, to appease his "backers".

            Wonder how long before they start dismantling and raping the public health system here?

            The whole system needs adjusting but ...........

            One friend works parting in various high schools averaging about 6 million a year. He is luckily enough that one school has a system where they will enroll anyone on 8 or more hours. That means he is only paying premiums based on half of his earnings but still gets full health coverage. Then there is my friend who pays close to 40,000yen per month on his piddling ECC salary.

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