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Why is the government promoting inclusion of Mainland students studying in Taiwan into the National Health Insurance program?

(1) The nature of the National Health Insurance (NHI) program is the "self-help and mutual aid" concept, through which people long living together on the same land may together shoulder medical risks and thus safeguard the health of all residents. The NHI system currently allows participation by foreign and overseas ethnic Chinese students in Taiwan, but unfairly excludes Mainland students. With regard to equality and humane care, the government has pressed for amendments to Article 22 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area to allow the changing of the "staying" status of Mainland students studying in Taiwan to "residing" status, As such, in accordance with stipulations in the National Health Insurance Act, Mainland students may be allowed to join the NHI program on par with the treatment granted to foreign students. The draft amendment to Article 22 of the Act was submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review on October 17, 2012.

(2) According to 2012 statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, foreign students paid more in out-of-pocket premiums (NT$8,988) than their average per person medical expenses (NT$3,879). Once Mainland students, who are in the youth demographic, are included into the NHI system with premium standards comparable to those for foreign students, the inclusion should not create a financial burden on the health care system.