China's healthcare reform to provide basic medical coverage for all   2011-12-17 14:05:20            

BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Reform is underway of China’s healthcare system. And the Healthcare Reform Office of the State Council is about to release its report on the progress of national healthcare reform already implemented over the last three years.

The changes are aimed at providing basic medical coverage to every Chinese citizen - no easy feat, given the country’s huge one point three billion population.

Driving the changes to China’s healthcare system is one key principle: to expand access to basic medical care across the entire nation.

After two years’ efforts, the benefits are already being felt.

Sun Zhigang, Director of Healthcare Reform Office, State Council, said, "On the one hand, we widened medical insurance coverage and increased the government allowance and reimbursement ratio. On the other, we standardized and regulated the supply of basic medicines -- after which medicine prices dropped 30 percent on average across the country. "

The reform began in 2009, when children living in towns and cities, old people and university students were brought under China’s medical insurance system.

China has three kinds of basic medical insurance: employees’ basic medical insurance; a new-rural cooperative medical service; and urban residents basic medical insurance.

The report is expected to show that by the end of September this year, 95 percent of residents in the country had basic medical coverage.

But it’s not just how the insurance is applied. Subsidies have also increased.

Medical subsidies for new-rural cooperative and urban residents doubled in 2011 compared to 2009.

And the medical service reimbursement ratio is getting higher.

To push forward national medical reform, 95 billion yuan was given in medical insurance subsidies in 2011 -- a jump of around 250 percent since the pre-reform period in 2008. Healthcare allowances also grew by about 160 percent, to 13 billion yuan compared to 2008, as part of a push to give unemployed people access to medical care.


Editor: Tang Danlu
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