Written by Enoch Shih (Associate Professor of the Department of Occupation Therapy, Fu-Jen University, and the President of Taipei Medical Humanity Society)
Health and welfare policies were hardly on the agenda in previous presidential election campaigns. However, in this forthcoming presidential election, all three candidates have showed interests in nominating professionals with medical background as their running mates. I believe all campaign teams have recruited talents specializing in health policies. Therefore, we have reasons to expect in-depth and intense discussions and debate about health policies in this presidential election. The public is tired of political news. However, we should not ignore the health and welfare policies put forward by the candidates, because national health and welfare policies concern not only us, but also our parents and children.
For example, the widely criticized “NHI Black-Hole” has indirectly caused health professionals’ low wages, drug companies’ decisions to stop supplying certain drugs and even health professionals’ quitting their jobs. I wonder what policies would be put forward by the three candidates and their aides. I believe many people are looking forward to hearing the candidates’ health and welfare manifestos.
Furthermore, there was uproar from the healthcare industry when the government announced the draft of the Medical Dispute Act a few months ago. Though this issue no longer attracts the media’s attention, the disputes over the draft Act are still there. I wonder how the three candidates would address this issue and what adjustment they would make.
The current hospital accreditation system has aroused discussion among health professionals, particularly in the primary care sector. Some accreditation items are well-meaning, but putting them into practice will actually undermine the quality of care. This criticism must have been heard by the aides of each campaign team. If they take those comments seriously, it will benefit the healthcare industry and the public. As for the long-term home care policy, there have been discussions about how it should be funded. Is there any candidate daring to endorse this policy? And what is the proposed financial plan? These issues are worth debating.
Health and welfare policies were never an important issue in the previous presidential election campaigns in Taiwan. However, in the US, Ms. Clinton included her health and welfare policies into her presidential campaign manifesto. In fact, a country’s health and welfare policies are equally important as its economic policies. I hope that exciting new ideas for health and welfare policies will be proposed by the candidates in this presidential campaign. If so, it will be a blessing for the people.
【2015-08-24/ Apple Daily】