China Strives for Full Coverage of Medical Insurance

Li Keqiang

Through a few years of effort, China has established a medical insurance system covering over 95% of its population. However, people still have to pay a part of their medical bills.

A serious sickness is still too expensive and may cause the patient or even all his family members to lose all his and even their property.

China’s official CNTV network reports in its prime time news on July 19, Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is expected to succeed Wen Jiabao, held a plenary session of the Medical Reform Leading Groop in Beijing on July 9 to discuss the ways for further  medical reform.

CNTV says, Li Keqiang who heads the group, “points out in the meeting that insurance for serious sickness is a major benchmark for the quality of the medical insurance system. At present, basic medical insurance has, in the main, covered all urban and rural areas in China, but a system of insurance for serious sickness has not yet been established.

There is a prominent problem of poverty caused by sickness, and well-to-do people falling into poverty due to sickness. Often, the serious sickness of a family member may bring his whole family into difficulties. Over the past few years, quite a few localities have vigorously explored ways for the insurance for serious sickness, and gained some experience.

We have to make up our minds to include medical insurance for serious sickness into our all-people medical insurance, and extend the functions of basic medical insurance in that respect. That will be conducive to making our social security net stronger and more consummate, resolve serious patients’ special difficulties and free people from the anxiety over unexpected serious sickness, so as to bring hope and warmth to them.

Li stressed the need to create new mechanism to combine basic medical insurance with commercial insurance and charities for funding such insurance.

Establishment and perfection of the social security net, including medical insurance, unemployment insurance and pension scheme, are a part of the Chinese government’s ambitious scheme to remove people’s safety motive for excessive saving. The government believes that being freed of the worry for the uncertainty in the future, people will substantially reduce savings and increase consumption.

Together with other measures such as wage increase and urbanisation, the government will enable the emergence of an expanding huge domestic market. The government plans to build 36 million affordable housing units in five years and began construction of 10 million units last year. With such housing, migrant workers may bring their children to the cities where they work; while the government will provide equal education opportunities for their children.

That will be a good way to increase consumption. When you live in Chinese cities, you can see that the first generation of migrant workers are thrifty, but their children spend their money in just the same way as urban people.

With a growing huge domestic market of 1.3 billion people, China will not be in trouble when its export market shrinks.

Categories: Human Rights & Social Issues

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1 reply


  1. Ye Zilong breaks new ground as eye doctor to China’s poor « China Daily Mail

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