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Healthcare reform proposals likely to be released in Jan. 2009
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According to 21st Century Business Herald, following consultations with the public, revised healthcare reform proposals are likely to be announced in January 2009. Five supporting schemes will also be released to the public, including the construction of a medical insurance system, the establishment of a basic national medications system, the improvement of grass-roots medical services, equalization of access to public services for rural and urban residents, and state-run hospital reform.

On October 14, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published a 13,500-word draft on healthcare reform on its website (http://shs.ndrc.gov.cn/yg) and welcomed opinions from the public on its content. The website was inundated with complaints and criticism, many of which simply said the plan was too difficult to understand.

A source close to the healthcare reform group said, "Policy makers revised the 13,500-word draft to a certain extent, taking public opinion into consideration, but the reform will still be in line with basic guiding principles."

With reference to the 5 supporting schemes, the source observed: "Establishment of a basic national medication system and state-run hospital reform are the key problems in this healthcare reform."

The authority revealed that specific rules and principles regarding the five supporting schemes will be made by different departments, with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in charge of the medical insurance system, the Ministry of Health in charge of the basic national medication system, the NDRC in charge of grass-roots medical services, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance in charge of equalization of public services for rural and urban residents, and the Ministry of Health in charge of state-run hospital reform.

Some local governments have already started to attempt reform. Recently Guangdong announced that a scheme will be announced by the end of year to set up healthcare reform pilots in Shenzhen, Shaoguan and Zhangjiang.

(China.org.cn by Ma Yujia, December 26, 2008)


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