Following a presentation by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) on the achievements of the long-term care 2.0 plan, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Thursday that with Taiwan on course to become a super-aged society (where over 20 percent of the population is aged 65 years and older) by 2026, the government must accelerate the construction of the nation's long-term care system, and reduce the burden imposed on caregivers. The premier also instructed all agencies and departments to devote efforts to providing the public with high-quality, readily available, and sufficiently diverse long-term care services, as well as building a friendly environment where the seniors can enjoy financial self-sufficiency and active, healthy lifestyles.
Starting in recent years with the amendment of existing laws, Taiwan continues to create a comprehensive environment that meets the needs of older residents, said Premier Su. Changes to the Income Tax Act were approved by the Legislature in July that allow every taxpayer in need of long-term care to claim a special deduction of NT$120,000 (US$3,860) from their income each year when filing taxes. In addition, a draft bill to encourage employment among older middle-aged people and the elderly was approved at a July 25 Cabinet meeting, with the goal of keeping these citizens engaged with society and making use of a valuable labor resource.
The government is pushing on with expenditures on long-term care, the premier went on to say. From less than NT$5 billion (US$154.7 million) in 2016, the long-term-care budget has risen to NT$33.8 billion (US$1.1 billion) in 2019, and is expected to grow to nearly NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion) next year, a 700 percent increase. Beyond expanding the number of people eligible for care and increasing the types of services available, these funds are also being used to speed the construction of the plan's three-tiered service centers, which now number over 7,000. Users of long-term care services are also rising. From January to July of this year, over 200,000 people received care, two-and-a-half times the number registered during the same period in 2017.
The MOHW indicated that implementation of the long-term care 2.0 plan is now entering its third year. During this time, new systems for care compensation and payment processing have been introduced. The MOHW has also focused on cooperating with local governments to roll out integrated community care services adapted to local circumstances. Furthermore, efforts continue on prevention, slowing the onset of disabilities, an increased capacity to care for those with dementia, and the consolidation of such services as home-based medical treatment, in order to provide the public with a system that covers a wide range of long-term care needs.