All Chinese people in urban and rural areas will have basic medical care and health services by 2020, Vice Minister of Health Gao Qiang said yesterday at the ongoing 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
But he noted that it will not be easy to achieve the target, because there will be 1.5 billion people at that time.
China has set up the world's biggest network of medical services and disease prevention, and the most advanced mechanism in reporting epidemic situations, Gao said.
"At present a disease outbreak, wherever it is, can be reported to the Ministry of Health in a single day," he said.
China started medical-service reform in the early 1990s to abolish the system in which governments and State-run enterprises covered most medical expenses of urban Chinese, but rural people found it hard to get access to medical care.
Now medical insurance has been introduced and promoted in urban areas, and cooperative medical care has been experimented in the countryside. In this sense, all Chinese will be able to afford medical treatment.
China's rural cooperative medical insurance system, initiated in 2003 to offer farmers basic health care, had covered 720 million rural residents, or 82.8 percent of the rural population, by the end of June.
Life expectancy of Chinese people reached 73 years in 2006, doubling that in 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded.