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China Quickens Medical Insurance Reform

China now requires to quicken the reform of medical insurance for urban workers across the country, ensure their needs for basic medical treatment and guarantee the implementation of overall medical planning in over 90 percent of the regions. It is required to cover a population of 80 million in the medical insurance program this year.

China has made outstanding achievements in medical insurance reform. By the end of last June, of the 349 areas that have adopted overall medical planning, 307 areas had launched the medical insurance, accounting for 88 percent of the whole country. It covers a population of 50.26 million, taking up 30 percent of the total insurance population of China.

As informed from the National Medical Insurance System Reform Mayor Symposium held recently in Harbin the medical insurance functions well in the cities that have adopted insurance system. It received warm welcome from the masses of workers. The funds are balanced in revenue and expenditure.

Wang Dongjin, vice minister of Labor and Social Security, said at the meeting that the reform of the systems of medical insurance, medical hygiene and drug circulation should be carried out simultaneously to further intensify and improve the management of medical services. In those areas where witness relatively inferior economic conditions, the meeting noted, an overall planning for basic medical insurance fund can be established as a initial step. Workers who are not affordable for the payment can join the basic medical insurance of the overall planning fund. In this way, they will be able to receive the treatment of serious diseases and hospitalization.

The meeting also pointed out that a competitive admission and exit mechanism should be introduced in assigned medical institutions and the function efficiency of the basic medical insurance fund should be guaranteed so as to reduce unnecessary expenses and burden for the patients.

It is also required at the meeting that an attempt should be made to set up a multi-level medical insurance system, thereby offering a proper settlement to the problem of medical treatment for persons concerned. Great efforts should be made to tap for means and ways of social medical relief for a proper solution of the medical problems for persons in extreme poverty.

(People's Daily 08/15/2001)

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