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On November 27, the Legislative Yuan will discuss the amendment of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area and whether or not to provide Mainland Chinese students in Taiwan with national health insurance.

The Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa calls for equal rights for all students from places outside of Taiwan. Regarding this, the Taiwan Solidarity Union says they will boycott the proposal during parliamentary procedures. The KMT and DPP will also force their legislators to attend the assembly.

CNA reports, Wu says from an education point of view, all students coming from outside of Taiwan should be treated the same. Health insurance is provided for overseas Chinese students and foreign students in Taiwan, but not for those from Mainland China, which has led to some disputes on campus.

Wu says that people can understand that there might be some differences in the rights of local and international students, which is also seen in the US; however, international students with different identities should not be treated disparately.

CNA reports, director of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Department of Social Insurance, Chu Tong-kuang, says that if the national health insurance is provided for Mainland Chinese students in Taiwan, they will be insured under the sixth identity category. The insurance fee will be NT$1, 249 (approximately US$ 38) per month, of which the insured would pay 60% of the fee (NT$ 749, US$ 23) and the Taiwanese government would pay 40% (NT$500, US$15).

Chu also says that according to the health insurance statistics of 2014, the total of insurance fees paid by foreign students is approximately NT$ 102 million (approximately US$ 3.13 million), including used medical expenses of NT$ 45 million (approximately US$ 1.38 million). The amount of insurance fees already covers the medical expenses, so health insurance for Mainland Chinese students in Taiwan would not increase the insurance burden.

National Education Radio reports, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education, Mainland Chinese students studying for a bachelor’s, master’s or doctor’s degree in Taiwan come to a total of 7,813 people. The ministry hopes to provide health insurance for all of them.

Short-term exchange students studying in Taiwan for less than six months are not eligible to apply for the insurance due to regulations. Even if they stay in Taiwan for a year, the period of time is too short for the students to qualify.

UDN reports, Taiwan Solidarity Union Secretary Lin Jih-jia says Mainland Chinese students do not pay taxes in Taiwan. If they were provided with the national health insurance, it would be unfair to Taiwanese taxpayers and may worsen the finance situation of the health insurance system.

Translated by Wen-yee Lee
Edited by Olivia Yang