Health care in china - Medicare
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CHINA

 A wave of healthcare reform is sweeping through China and a taskforce was set up in 2005 Chinafor this purpose. This Rural Co-operative Medical Care System (NRCMCS) aims to healthcare affordable for its people, even among the rural poor. NRCMCS has boldly overhauled the costing structure and the resultant medical cost was established at 50 yuan (US$7) per person. The central government foots 40% (20 yuan) of this charge while another 20 yuan comes from the provincial government, which leaves only 10 yuan attributed to individual patient. The project was a massive success with estimated 80% of the total Chinese population in the rural area had signed up (that is an overwhelming 685 million residents).  It is a location-based multi-tiered system. If the consultation happens at a clinic or small hospital in the local town, then the system would account for as mush as 80% of the bill. When the patient seeks consultation at a county clinic, only up to 60% is going to be covered by the government.


The subsidy would drop drastically to about 30% if treatment is sought after at a modern city hospital.

China is also working its way to universal health care. The preliminary draft was recently released to solicit public opinion. Essentially the draft spells out the need for stable healthcare pricing as well as greater health-care funding. It claims that the current system is not inclusive enough with a lot of the population being left out or made to pay too high price on healthcare.


China of course holds the proud record as the earliest civilization with medicine history. Suffice to say that this field of medicine has further undergone remarkable development in the last two thousand years.

However, western medicines did not get overlooked by the local authority even though the central government has put a lot of emphasis in promoting traditional Chinese medicine. Western medicines have always been a major alternative in the mainland healthcare with increasing acceptance since the late 1970s. A case in point, Western-trained physicians and pharmacists increased by close to a quarter of a million from 1976 to 1981.


There are also the so-called ‘barefoot doctors’ offering their services at fee, alongside medicine to go. However as rural folks progressively achieving better incomes, these barefoot doctors would continue to get sidelined as more and more would opt for the commune health centers or county hospitals. As a result, barefoot doctors have seen their presence diminished over time and it is on danger of being extinct from the healthcare landscape. Another problem lingering is that more leaders of brigades are convinced that farming is a better alternative to administer local healthcare was administered, in term of earning power and many have quit their jobs. This has led to the collapse of many cooperative medical programs. There are pockets of voluntary health-insurance programs but they may suffer due to lack of professional management.


The Cultural Revolution has indeed brought about serious decline of the public healthcare sector. But it has seen a reversal recently as the central government actively promote better in the diets, especially among those in rural areas. The change is also partly helped by the revival of the epidemic control system.

 
 
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