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China Launches Key Health Care Reform

China has started a new reform of its medical care system, aiming to guarantee access to health insurance for all in about three years.

The plan is to create a medical care system that benefits migrant workers, as well as urban and rural workers. The procedures for paying premiums and seeing a doctor will also be simplified to guarantee a convenient and timely service for the insured and medical organizations.

Wang Dongjin, vice minister of Labor and Social Security, said, "The campaign to reform health insurance will combine scientific management and human-oriented services to establish a system that will guarantee medical care for all Chinese citizens."

China started a nationwide reform of medical coverage in 1998 in an attempt to lessen the government's burden. That led to an insurance system requiring more premium contributions from individuals and less from the government. So far, over 100 million people, from 300 cities and 2,000 counties and villages, have enjoyed the system. And the reforms are expected to draw more participation.

(CCTV September 27, 2004)

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