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Mainland students 1 step closer to health coverage

TAIPEI--The Cabinet sent a major law revision to the Legislature yesterday that, if approved, will allow the inclusion of Chinese students in the National Health Insurance (NHI) program.

The draft revisions to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area propose changing the visa type for Chinese people studying in Taiwan from visitor to resident, which would qualify them for coverage under the NHI program.

The National Health Insurance Act stipulates that non-nationals must have an Alien Resident Certificate to qualify for coverage under the country's health care system. These are issued only to people who have a resident visa.

The draft revisions also include a clause that says once Chinese students finish their education in Taiwan or when their original purpose of entry no longer exists, their resident status will be revoked.

Premier Sean Chen said the inclusion of Chinese students in the NHI program would demonstrate the government's support for humanity and human rights.

He also said that by creating a friendlier living and learning environment for Chinese students, Taiwan could improve exchanges between young people on each side of the Taiwan Strait.

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