Battlepanda: The view from a small island


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The view from a small island

There's been some recent and unpopular changes in the Taiwanese National Health insurance system. The employer's share of the burden has gone down while everybody 'premiums are adjusted upwards, with the double-income-no-kids crowd getting screwed the hardest. (Gee, I wonder why...) People are not happy.

I don't think I've been here long enough to evaluate whether the adjustments are just or necessary. But I think it provides a useful reality check to see how those new increased premiums compare to what the average, insured family in America has to pay, which Kate has provided . Of course, Taiwan is a much less wealthy country than the States. Taiwan's GDP per capita is about half. So lets stack the deck against the Taiwanese system by only looking at the premiums paid by the top income bracket, which is naturally the highest (those making more than 4.6 millions NT [or about $140,000 USD] annually or more.).

So, after the unpopular premium hike, the most anyone pays for the NHI scheme in Taiwan is 3000NT or about 9o dollars a month. That comes out to $1080 annually. The vast majority of the population pays much less. Compare this to, say, the average individual rate in the United States at $3,495. Even taking into account that the GDP per capita in Taiwan is half that of the U.S. and thus wages of doctors and nurses and so on must be cheaper, the NHI is still a bargain.

I understand that a lot of apples are getting compared with oranges. This is just a quick reality check. C'mon, people. If Taiwan can do it, we can too.