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health

Medical bills to be free in all Tokyo wards for high school students, younger kids from next year

13 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Tokyo is made up of 23 wards and roughly three dozen areas classified as cities and towns. The 23 wards are the most developed and centrally located, providing the closest access to schools, workplaces, and other necessary facilities, but that convenience comes with higher costs for housing and consumer goods prices.

Living in Tokyo’s 23 wards could become much less expensive soon, though, as starting next year medical bills for high school students and younger children will be free. The plan was announced by Takaaki Yamazaki, mayor of Koto Ward, following a conference of the special wards’ mayors on June 21.

From the start of the next fiscal year, Tokyo Metropolis (as Tokyo’s special wards, cities, towns, and villages are collectively called) will be starting a three-year program under which children through high school-age from households with applicably low incomes will be charged only 200 yen per hospital visit. However, Yamazaki declared that the 23 wards have decided to go even further, and will be completely covering the medical expenses for high school students and younger children with no family income restrictions.

“This is being undertaken as a child-rearing support project by the 23 wards, a measure to address the declining birthrate,” said Yamazaki. “We reached this decision from the belief that in order to create a Tokyo in which it is easy to give birth and raise children, we should not place income restrictions on beneficiaries or ask them to personally pay medical bills.” The system is expected to go into operation next April.

Expanding the benefits to all families, regardless of income, in the 23 wards (which have a combined population of almost 9.4 million people) and waiving any self-payment requirements is estimated to increase the cost for the program by an additional 1.3 billion yen. Yamazaki says the wards will be shouldering this extra expense, but also that he believes the central Tokyo Metropolitan government should take over the burden from 2026.

Sources: NHK News WebFNN Prime Online

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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I’d rather our taxes spent this way than on the Olympics.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

A very rare situation where the government is doing something that will actually have a positive effect in making raising kids less troublesome.

Probably for most families including children in the free medical care up to high school may not mean too much of an advantage, but for some unlucky families this actually means a lot of money. Children with serious chronic diseases or that have disabilities or sequelae from accidents will benefit the most with this, and anyone that is considering having kids will understand their family can be in this kind of situation. Making sure that kids can receive free medical attention at least until they graduate high school can have a strong effect in the decision of having those kids or not, specially for people with low salaries or poor job stability.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Great! More of my tax money spent on other peoples kids.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

This would have helped so much when we were in Tokyo. Absolutely wonderful idea.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Good news

Up to what age is the current insurance coverage?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This will help all those 40+ women too who are thinking of having kids as there is a higher risk of abnormalities. I don't think it will have much of an impact on actually increasing the birth rate and if young families are drawn into Tokyo from the rural areas, it might not be such a positive for Japan. Besides, many people cannot afford to live in Tokyo, but are commuting from Chiba and Saitama.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Mr Kipling - having the most healthy and educated generation possible growing up behind us will benefit society as a whole.

It is paying for other people’s children, but perhaps think of it more as paying for a better future for all (or at least an attempt).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps all medical care should be free!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

englisc aspyrgend...

Perhaps all medical care should be free!

Nothing is FREE. Someone is paying for it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This mainly benefits rich people, getting rid of the income restriction.

Rural areas cannot afford to fund similar schemes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This will help all those 40+ women too who are thinking of having kids as there is a higher risk of abnormalities. I don't think it will have much of an impact on actually increasing the birth rate

@kumagaijin - I think your post is not entirely genuine, but rather something you are using to attack older mothers and potentially wider associated factors (women marrying later, having careers etc.).

This change will benefit those who are on low incomes and where a visit to hospital might mean having to sacrifice necessities. This is more likely to be younger and probably single mothers

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Great news!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr Kipling

englisc aspyrgend...

Perhaps all medical care should be free!

Nothing is FREE. Someone is paying for it

As you are well aware, free at point of use

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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