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Right to Equal Medical Care
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Equality and justice should materialize through providing equal health services and medical insurance for all, says an article in Xiaoxiang Morning Post. An excerpt follows:

Minister of Health Gao Qiang said at the 2007 National Health Work Meeting that the ministry will focus on building four basic systems of medical services in the new year. He said the government-funded medicare system aims to provide equal medical care for both rural and urban residents.

This is good news. But there is still much to be worried about.

As Gao also disclosed, because of the low level of urbanization, the huge income gap between urban and rural residents, and the large base of the agricultural population, different types of medical insurance systems will coexist for a rather long time. Thus it can be imagined that people will be treated differently according to their income levels and regions. Will those relatively poor groups only be able to have inferior health services and medical insurance?

Public health service and medical insurance should be a basic social welfare benefiting all. They should be enjoyed equally by all citizens. With the current gap between the rich and the poor increasing, the establishment of a public health service and medical insurance system must not lead to new inequalities.

It is impossible to increase the poor's income level overnight. Thus we should start by providing equal basic social welfare to all to demonstrate equality and justice.

(China Daily January 11, 2007)

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