While visiting Nantou County today, Premier Lin Chuan said that the government is committed to creating a community-based model for long-term care services, and has allocated NT$20 billion (US$633.51 million) this year to implement the long-term care 2.0 plan on a trial basis. After the foundation has been laid, he said, the plan will be expanded to the entire country.
The premier was in Nantou to inspect the three-tier care system consisting of local Tier A community-based integrated service centers, Tier B combined day care service centers, and Tier C long-term care stations in alleys and lanes.
The 2.0 plan is high on President Tsai Ing-wen’s policy agenda, Premier Lin said, as past efforts to promote the long-term care system were unsuccessful due to insufficient funding and a lack of integration between service mechanisms and industries. To overcome these bottlenecks, the government is conducting a trial run in nine designated locations in six cities and counties during the plan’s first phase, creating a standardized service model and setting payment standards. After the standards are announced, the plan will be opened to private sector participation.
The greatest challenge for the 2.0 plan is finding steady funding, the premier said. On October 6, 2016 the Executive Yuan therefore passed the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s (MOHW) proposed partial amendments to the Long-term Care Services Act, stipulating that estate, gift and tobacco taxes should be adjusted and used to provide designated funding for the long-term care system.
The draft amendment proposes changing estate and gift taxes from a flat 10 percent rate, and instituting a progressive tax system with escalating rates of 10, 15 and 20 percent. Estate and gift taxes are usually levied on assets left behind by high-income earners, and can be used to fund the long-term care system as a kind of contribution to society, the premier said.
No system is 100 percent perfect, Premier Lin continued. But since Taiwan’s national health insurance (NHI) system is ranked among the best in the world, providing the best possible service for the least amount of money, the premier hopes that Taiwan’s long-term care system will perform just as well, offering the best service at the lowest cost among national long-term care systems. The MOHW is responsible for the NHI and the long-term care system, and must ensure the success and sustainability of both, he added.
In addition to seeing how the 2.0 plan operated and expressing appreciation to the staff for their hard work, Premier Lin called on all sectors to join the government in supporting the plan. He asked everyone to share their compassion and energy in creating diverse services that will allow senior citizens to receive the best care in familiar, supportive environments surrounded by their families and friends.