Gambling addiction may be covered by Japan public health scheme

Move responds to rising concerns about introduction of resort-style casinos in the country

Gambling addiction may be covered by Japan public health scheme

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recently received a list of proposals for various public health insurance treatments, which included group therapy for gambling addictions.

The proposals were drafted by the Central Social Insurance Medical Council and were submitted to Health Minister Katsunobu Kato.

According to a report by Jiji Press, the move comes amid increased concern that the upcoming introduction of resort-style casinos in Japan may cause an increase in the number of people diagnosed with a gambling disorder. 

The American Psychiatric Association defines the disorder as “repeated problematic gambling behaviour that causes significant problems or distress.” People with the disorder crave gambling in a manner that has been compared to how alcoholics desire alcohol. Compulsive gambling behaviour may cause financial problems, deterioration of personal relationships, and a decline in work performance, as well as potential brushes with the law. 

Other measures included in the proposal were the inclusion of smoking-cessation treatment for users’ heated tobacco products, genetic testing for diseases such as hereditary breast cancer, as well as preventive removal of breasts, ovaries, and other organs.

The panel also called for the Health Ministry to abolish extra fees imposed on pregnant women, due to public criticism. Instead, it proposed a system that charges fees for communicating information about patients’ treatment, including for pregnant women, between medical institutions.

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