How to get free healthcare in Japan without insurance


Brace yourselves, Republicans and Libertarians: it turns out Japan’s social safety net provides free healthcare to people that need medical attention but have no money or insurance. It’s like Obamacare’s angry, ‘roided-up samurai cousin.

That’s because there’s a somewhat vaguely-worded provision in Japanese law that states the government is obligated to provide care for those with “troubled livelihoods,” at low or no cost, regardless of insurance coverage. “Troubled livelihood” is kind of a broad definition, which ensures that those without the means to pay for medical treatment – even if they aren’t necessarily poor, homeless or unable to work – can still see a doctor.

So, naturally, a blogger who most likely always wears a tacky suit with sparkly yen symbols on it took to Yahoo! Japan to explain how average people can wriggle their way through this loophole to free treatment.


The trick apparently lies in the fact that it’s not the patient that receives government money to pay for care, but the hospitals themselves that receive the money, which they then subtract from the fees of those they deem to meet the provision’s criteria.

Since the definition of “troubled livelihood” is left up to the individual hospitals, anyone could potentially meet it. We’re guessing if you’re an American that went to college, you probably qualify automatically by showing them your soul-crushingly expensive student loan bills. Couple this with the fact that the government’s allotted budget for this particular provision has been increasing in recent years, and you’ve got a recipe for free doctor visits for a huge number of people, at a huge number of hospitals and clinics.

We’re not saying this blogger is telling everyone they should show up to the hospital, pat their pants pockets, shrug and say, “Aaw, shoot, I guess I forgot my wallet…,” but we’re also not saying that isn’t a great idea anyway.

Source: Yahoo! Japan
Photos: Feature, Inset


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