The government will bear a greater share of the costs for health care and
basic treatment, and redress imbalances in access to medical services.
And a blueprint for the implementation of the changes will be worked out by a
high-powered panel set up recently, Yin Dakui, president of the China Medical
Doctor Association, said.
A long-standing grievance has been that most Chinese do not have access to
affordable health care while a privileged few hog most of the resources, Yin
"The government must consider the issue of fairness while formulating a new
health policy; and it must bear the cost of basic health care for all," Yin,
also a former vice health minister, was yesterday quoted as saying by China
A team of 11 State Council departments with the minister of the National
Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the health minister as co-chairs,
has been set up, Wang Dongsheng, deputy director of the Social Development
Department of the NDRC, told a forum on Sunday.
Their revamp plan could be announced before next spring, Wang told the forum
The issues they will address are likely to be the vast amount of funds pumped
into big hospitals, increasing medical costs and a wide lack of medical
For example, of all government spending on medical treatment, 80 per cent is
used for only about 8.5 million people, mainly officials at various levels.
But nearly half of all people who need medical attention do not go to see
doctors because they cannot afford it, according to a national survey on medical
service in 2003.
The main target of the reform is to establish a national health system which
is equitable and available to all, said a Ministry of Health official who did
not want to be named.
The central government has already taken big strides in that direction by
expanding services in urban communities and township hospitals in the past five
In the next five years, the central government will spend 20 billion yuan
(US$2.4 billion) to help rural hospitals and clinics improve technology, upgrade
equipment and attract talents.
Currently, 80 per cent of medical resources, including a big chunk of the
world's best equipment, are gobbled up by big hospitals in cities, which are
home to only 500 million of the country's 1.3 billion residents.