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China Announces New Health Care Reform Effort

by Fred Fortin

China’s Health Ministry has announced the “China 2020″ program that promises to “provide a universal national health service and promote equal access to public services,” according to a BBC News report. The program is intended “to reform the health system and provide a national service for all citizens, including the rural population.” According to the BBC, commentators see in this announcement a move towards a British NHS model of health care.

In a Reuters report quoting China’s Health Minister, Chen Zhu,

“Public medical and health agencies’ operating mechanisms are not adapted to the needs of the public, the improvement of health personnel’s ability is still weak and the development of the health insurance system is lagging.”

Chen said last week that market forces must not come to dominate China’s health service, as they lead only to inequality and cause the vast and poor countryside to be ignored.

So the question of the day, given these pronouncements, is what will be the emerging role of private health insurance in China? There is no way that private health insurance could ever dominate health care in China. But how big is that window of opportunity going to be? Private health insurers can bring a lot to the health care table that would be of value to China. Let’s hope they continue to have a seat as the country’s health reform effort moves forward.


[…] my entire post over at the World Health Care blog Posted in China, Globalization, Healthcare, […]

  Mike Pringle wrote @ January 11th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Similar circumstances that the Chinese are facing that we are coming to grips with in the U.S. I read a piece on this the other day outlining the huge cost associated with their (China) healthcare system. The poor and rural areas as in the US were being left behind. The report mentioned that it was likely China was going to revert to a universal system which it had previously since the free market concept wasn’t working well. Co-payments were actually going to jump by 100% to just over $2.00 - equivalent.

The one issue that seems to be lost in all this in both China and this country is the “cost” of healthcare. Insurance is a form of payment. Granted premiums have balloon but I see this more as an effect of costs. There seems to be little to no focus on why healthcare costs so much.

Thanks for opportunity.

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