Finance Minister Taro Aso oks 0.9% total medical fee cut
Japan Times -- Dec 19
Finance Minister Taro Aso agreed on Monday to cut total medical fees covered by the country’s public health insurance system by 0.90 percent from the current level.

The planned reduction under the cost revision for fiscal 2018, which starts in April next year, will mark the second straight decline in the fees, which are reviewed biennially in principle.

Of the total fees, drug prices are set to fall 1.45 percent, reflecting market prices, while medical service fees will rise 0.55 percent, according to the agreement with the health minister as part of the fiscal 2018 budget compilation process.

The government now expects to achieve a target of cutting social security expenditures by ¥130 billion. The Cabinet is expected to adopt a draft budget on Friday.

Detailed prices for specific medical treatments will be set by the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, which advises the health minister, next February.

The envisaged decline in total medical fees is expected to reduce the amounts of relevant taxes and insurance premiums as well as out-of-pocket fees paid by patients, which basically amount to 10-30 percent of the total costs of the treatment they receive.

The margin of decline for drug prices will expand to 1.74 percent if reform measures, including a change to surcharges for new drugs, are taken into account. In this case, the drop in overall medical fees will reach 1.19 percent.

News source: Japan Times
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