Policy Proposals Economic Policy, Social Security Proposal for Health Insurance System Reform
As Japan faces a rapidly aging population and a decrease in the number of people in the working generation, the country is pressed to establish a social security system that is sustainable and compatible with economic activities. Above all, health insurance system reform is needed urgently. The proportion of costs for care for the elderly has reached about 60% of the national health care expenditures in Japan as the aging of the population progresses. The percentage is expected to continue to increase at a pace surpassing the rate of GDP growth. The burden falls on the working generation, putting stress on their household budgets, as well as on companies. As such moves greatly hurt the country's competitiveness as a business hub, it is necessary to conduct a drastic review of the way the burden of medical costs for the elderly as soon as possible.
In reviewing the situation, the idea of "designating self-help as a base, mutual assistance through social insurance premiums as a way to cover risks that cannot be covered with self-help, and public assistance using tax money as a way to cover risks that go beyond the principles of insurance as well as for intergenerational aid" should be thoroughly carried through. On that basis, the government needs to expand the injection of tax money into medical care for the elderly to put the brakes on the increasing burden of insurance premiums for the working generation and for companies.
In addition, to curb the ever-growing health care benefits themselves, it is extremely important to promote efforts toward prioritizing and streamlining the provision of benefits, such as promoting the use of generic drugs. Furthermore, it is necessary to introduce information and communications technology to medical delivery system in order to establish the effective posting and utilization of medical resources based on the medical needs of each region.
Meanwhile, companies need to regard their employees' health maintenance and advancement as well as prevention of diseases as an important management task. Therefore it is important to cooperate proactively with health insurance associations in health services such as the "Data Health Plan", which utilize data from health checks and medical insurance claims.