2008年5月24日 (土)


(May. 24, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Opposition health bill a prescription for chaos

後期高齢者医療 混乱を増すだけの廃止法案(5月24日付・読売社説)

The newly introduced health insurance system, whose provisions mainly affect those aged 75 or older, is inconsiderate in several respects, including its name (literally, "health insurance system for people in the latter stage of their old age"). It is also true that it has a number of deficiencies and flaws.



But writing off the new system and starting again from scratch would only exacerbate and prolong the current confusion.


from scratch=最初から、ゼロから)(exacerbate=悪化させる)

Four opposition parties have submitted a bill to abolish the new health insurance system for the elderly to the House of Councillors. But they failed to present an alternative plan to replace the new system. They say the previous system should be restored for the time being, but this is irresponsible.




Ineptitude on the part of officials of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and local governments is to blame for the problem. Although the new system was a major departure from the old one, officials neglected to provide proper explanations and make other preparations for the introduction of the new system in a manner considerate to elderly people.



The result is that there was an emotional backlash against the new system when its merits and demerits should instead have been considered in a coolheaded manner. The opposition camp's approach--calling for the immediate abolition of the new system and saying that discussions on its replacement can follow later--would just make a bad situation worse.


backlash=反発、反動)(should have been considered=仮定法過去完了=考慮されるべきであったが考慮されなかった)


Old system deeply flawed


Just as the new system has yet to be fully understood by the public, major problems associated with the previous health insurance system for the elderly also were not widely acknowledged. The government and ruling parties failed to provide sufficient explanations on that point.


Before the introduction of the new system, most people aged 75 or older remained enrolled in the national health insurance scheme operated by each municipality as well as the health insurance system for the elderly. Increases in medical costs as a result of the aging of the population were paid in part out of funds contributed by corporate health insurance associations and others.


remain + 過去分詞=の状態のままである ex. remained enrolled=加入した状態のままである)

Under such a system, it was not clear how much of a burden the working generations bore. It also was unclear who was responsible for taking action to arrest undue increases in medical costs for elderly people. Furthermore, the amount of premiums collected differed significantly among municipalities depending on their fiscal conditions.




Both the ruling and opposition camps must have shared a common understanding that such defects were too serious to be rectified under the previous system. When the upper house passed a set of bills to reform health insurance systems in 2000, all parties except for the Japanese Communist Party voted to adopt an additional resolution calling for the establishment of a new health insurance system for the elderly as soon as possible.



Nation aging as polls argue


Measures to ease the problems associated with the previous system have been taken with the introduction of the new system. It is not desirable to take a step backward. Revisions made to the new system should be properly evaluated, and further adjustments should be made so that any flaws can be quickly corrected.



Faced with the opposition's broadside, the government and the ruling parties have rushed to review the new system. They are considering a variety of relief measures for those bearing heavier burdens under the new system in the form of reductions or exemptions on due premiums. But this seems like a mere dole-out policy and would be a poor way to handle the issue.


broadside=一斉攻撃、攻勢)(dole-out policy=施しものをするような政策、哀れみ政策?)

While politics is being roiled by the issue, the nation's population is continuing to grow older. What politicians should be doing is holding constructive discussions on the issue of health care for those aged 75 and older rather than competing to mishandle the issue in a nearsighted manner in an attempt to woo voters.




(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2008)

20085240150  読売新聞)

| | コメント (0)