Christian Living

chinaconnection 04/06/09

China to Have Universal Healthcare by 2020

It's not difficult to find holes in just about any healthcare system, and China is no exception.  An underfunded system and quality healthcare to residents in poor, rural areas are two of the biggest concerns when it comes to China's healthcare, which only covers about 30 percent of the population.  But a new government effort seeks to change this perception.

China's State Council announced a new plan to provide "safe, effective, convenient, and affordable" healthcare to the entire nation by 2020.  They plan to focus on four major areas: public health services, medical treatment, medical insurance, and drug supply, in order to promote this change.  

Government leaders already have initial funding in place. In January Chinese leaders allocated $124 billion on health care reforms to take place by 2011, including providing health insurance to 90% of its citizens.

Beyond that, however, there are many unanswered questions.  How much funding will be needed to achieve the long-term 2020 goal?  How many more medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics will be needed to provide adequate care for the population of 1.3 billion?   While the primary objective of completely revamping the healthcare system is noble, is it achievable?

If history is any indication, China is a country that enjoys the challenge of large, ambitious projects.  It's undergone dramatic changes, especially over the past thirty years, so a dramatic reconstruction of the healthcare system isn't beyond the realm of possibility.  At the same time, this will hardly be an easy process. 

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