National LTC insurance ready to roll out in … Taiwan?

Medicaid has seen better days. A draft of the Republican fiscal 2012 budget is calling for $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years to the entitlement program. This is in addition to ongoing fights over the CLASS Act, the voluntary long-term care insurance program that could theoretically remove a significant amount of Medicaid’s financial burdens, it has been argued. In the meantime, it seems another world government—Taiwan—has come to terms on how it will fund services for an aging population.

“The Executive Yuan approved Thursday a draft law that would require the government to set up a NT$1 billion (US$33.89 million) reserve fund to support a long-term care system for the elderly,” FocusTaiwan reported.

The bill, which regulates the provision of care professionals and the establishment and management of long-term care institutions, would lay the foundation for a national long-term healthcare insurance system to be developed, although it would not be a voluntary program such as CLASS. Taiwan instituted national healthcare in 1995.

A familiar note in Taiwan’s movement toward national long-term care insurance is that its detractors have used arguments similar to those levied against CLASS: it would not be financially viable, complementing the country’s already deficit-ridden universal health insurance system.

Interestingly, Taiwan’s government plans to fund its long-term care insurance coverage with significant contributions from its national health tax on tobacco products.

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