Taipei mayor criticizes ruling party for late notice on NHI rate hike

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Sunday criticized the ruling party for dragging their feet before informing Taiwan residents of the new National Health Insurance (NHI) rate hike— from 4.69 percent to 5.17 percent, effective from Jan. 1. 

In a YouTube video released on Sunday, Ko said that the ruling party called itself the “most communicative government,” but it announced the NHI rate hike one day before the new policy went into effect. 

“This is not what a most communicative government should do,” the mayor said in the video released on his official YouTube channel.   

“This is not what a most communicative government should do,” the mayor said in the video launched by his official YouTube channel. (Screenshot from the video)

The Taipei mayor shared his take in a video titled “three things people should be concerned about” regarding the New Year’s Eve party, the import of ractopamine pork, and the NHI rate hike.

Meanwhile, Taipei Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) lamented that the news of the day centered on whether Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) had contacted Ko before the New Year’s Eve party unfolded. 

“The coverage is even bigger than the NHI rate hike,” she said, adding that “This (NHI rate hike) has a very huge impact on people’s lives, but was caught in the chaos.”  

On Dec. 31, Chen announced that the NHI rate will jump to 5.17 percent, up from 4.69 percent, while the supplementary rate would increase from 1.91 percent to 2.11 percent.  

Under the new policy, the monthly NHI fee for each employee will rise by NT$63 on average, with over 70 percent of nationals facing an increase of NT$70 per person and per month.  

Chen said the financial loss of Taiwan’s health insurance would exceed NT$77.1 billion by the end of next years. He added that the increase is for health care financial balance and would not increase until at least 2022.