A handful of local and international research and health
organizations has been charged with coming up with six different
proposals for reforming the country's healthcare system, said
Deputy Health Minister Chen Xiaohong.
The State Council oversaw the creation of a team of 15
ministries to hammer out every detail of healthcare reform,
including management mechanisms and financial inputs, Chen
That team entrusted six organizations, including several
renowned universities, research institutions under the State
Council, international organizations such as the World Health
Organization and overseas private agencies to put forward different
proposals for healthcare reform.
"A final version of the reform policy will be unveiled after the
relevant authorities discuss and compare the schemes," Chen
Confronted by rocketing medical fees and discouraging
doctor-patient relations, the authorities are seeking solutions to
the problems with the country's basic medical services, insurance
system and hospital management.
Health Minister Gao Qiang has predicted that the plan for
healthcare reform would be ready this year, though experts say it
could take a much longer time to formulate a plan that addresses
thorny issues like financial input and overhauling management
During a discussion of the Health Ministry's handling of
proposals submitted during last year's sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Chen also said the new rural
cooperative healthcare system would cover 80 percent of China's
counties within this year and all rural areas by next year.
About 50.7 percent of the country's rural areas, or 1,451
counties, were covered by the system at the end of last year.
Each farmer who voluntarily joins the system, which dates back
to 2003, pays 10 yuan (US$1.2) into a medical fund every year.
State and local governments contribute at least 20 yuan each to the
fund. Farmers who participate in the system are entitled to a
refund of a proportion of the cost of any medical treatment they
Some 410 million farmers have signed up for system, accounting
for 47.2 percent of the total rural population. Last year the
system raised 21.36 billion yuan, and spent 15.58 billion yuan.
(China Daily March 12, 2007)