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 China's governments ordered to spend more on health care 

Vice premier underscores basic health-care as public service

GOV.cn   2009-04-11

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in Beijing Friday that the basic health-care system should be provided as a public service to the people to ensure and improve people's livelihoods.

Li made the remarks during a meeting on deepening the reform of the health-care system, stressing that the public health-care system should be conducted for public good and urging the gradual establishment of a basic health-care system to cover all Chinese citizens.

Carrying out the health-care system reform is of great significance to improving people's livelihoods and promoting social harmony, as well as boosting domestic demand and keeping a sound and rapid economic development, Li said.

The reform of the health-care system is a social systematic project, which is time-consuming, challenging and complicated, he said. By 2020, China should have a basic health-care system that covers urban and rural residents, Li pointed out.

Health-care reform in the next three years should be focused on relieving people from expensive and hard-to-get medical care, he said.

Li also said that reforms should be carried out in five areas, including providing universal access to basic health insurance, introducing an essential medicine system, improving primary healthcare facilities, offering equitable access to basic public health services and establishing pilot reform of state-run hospitals.

Free health programs launched for poor, rural population

Xinhua  2009-06-18

China has started health and construction programs to improve rural residents' health, part of a drive to improve the grassroots medical care system, a health official said Thursday.

Zhang Mao, vice minister of health, said the programs, part of the country's ambitious 850-billion-yuan (US$124 billion) health care reform plan, ranged from vaccination drives to improved cooking and sanitary facilities in rural areas.

Over three years, Hepatitis B vaccinations will be provided for those who were born between 1994 and 2001 but not inoculated. About 23.3 million people, or 31 percent of the target population, would be given shots, it said.

Also, rural women will get free exams for cervical and breast cancer.

Two million women in 200 counties will be checked for cervical cancer while another 400,000 will benefit from government-sponsored breast cancer examinations, according to the ministry.

The ministry also would strive to get prompt sight-restoration treatment for rural and impoverished cataract patients. About 200,000 operations are expected to be carried out this year, it said.

The ministry will support the upgrading of stoves in 870,000 poor rural households in provinces such as Yunnan and Guizhou to help local residents avoid poisoning from coal fumes. Toilet facilities will be renovated in more than 4.1 million households.

China unveiled a three-year plan on health care reform in April. Under the plan (2009-2011), the government will provide universal access to basic health insurance, introduction of an essential drug system, improve primary health care facilities, equitable access to basic public health services and pilot reform of state-run hospitals.

China to expand healthcare assistance among low-income groups

Xinhua  2009-06-22

China will gradually expand healthcare assistance over the next three years, by making services accessible to more needy families in both rural and urbanareas, according to a government document issued Monday.

Assistance would be expanded to low-income people with serious illnesses and others according to local government standards, said the document issued by the ministries of health, civil affairs, finance, and human resources and social security.

The scale and the scope of the aid would vary in different parts of the country in accordance with local economic development, and should be decided by local civil affairs and finance departments, it said.

The Chinese government already provides healthcare assistance to urban and rural residents who live on their local minimum living standard and those who receive the "five guarantees" -- food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses -- provided by local governments to those without relatives or employment.

The aid covers their fees to join the new rural cooperative program or to purchase medical insurance, and provides subsidies should their healthcare costs be too high.

But the minimum living standard and the "five guarantees" can only be enjoyed by those who have local residence registration, or "hukou," thus making the healthcare assistance inaccessible to many low-income groups, such as migrant workers in the cities.

A standardized medical aid system with stable funding to provide low-income groups with effective, convenient and timely aid should be established in three years, the document read.

The government will allocate 8.1 billion yuan (1.2 billion U.S. dollars), a 60-percent increase year on year, from the central budget and the lottery fund this year to provide healthcare assistance for the needy.

China's governments ordered to spend more on health care

Xinhua   2009-07-07

China's central government has ordered local governments to increase funding for public health care system, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website Sunday.

Investment from governments at all levels should aim at providing universal basic medical services and supporting public health services, medical insurance systems and medicine supply and safety, said a circular issued by ministries of finance, health, civil affairs, human resources and social security, and the National Development and Reform Commission.

The money should be mainly used to improve public, rural and urban community health services and medical insurance, and promote the development of traditional Chinese medicine.

The circular said both central and local governments should increase spending on health care in order to ease financial burdens on the people.

Governments should ensure sufficient funding for equal public health services in rural and urban areas, increase investment in public hospitals and encourage more private medical institutions, it said

Governments should subsidize the basic medical insurance system and the rural cooperative medical system, and raise subsidies in line with economic growth, it said.

Governments are also required to invest more to strengthen management and supervision of food and medicines, said the circular.

The central government passed the medical reform plan in January, which promised to spend 850 billion yuan ($124.4 billion) by 2011 to provide universal health care to the country's 1.3 billion population.

Rural health boost

China Daily 2009-07-14

About 830 million rural residents in China have joined the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme, a government-run medical insurance policy specifically for the rural population, according to the Ministry of Health.

By 2010, the amount of money for each person covered by the scheme will increase to 150 yuan annually from the current 100 yuan. Participants, along with central and local governments, share the premium.

 

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