Health service for all by 2010 - minister

Updated: 2007-10-13 18:43

SHANGHAI -- Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu has vowed to establish a medical service system which covers all urban and rural Chinese by 2010.

The Ministry of Health will deepen the ongoing medical reform to attain the objective, the minister said at a Sino-American medical forum opened in Shanghai, China's leading metropolis, on Friday.

The reform of China's public health sector is in a crucial period. It covers a wide range of subjects including medical insurance, drug manufacturing and distributing and supervision and legislation of medical management.

Increasing public criticism on high medical expense burden and endless hospital sandals have compelled the ministry to launch the reform which involved 16 ministries and commissions to brainstorm the reform.

"Public medical service should not be a burden to the society, but an important aspect of sustainable social development," the minister said.

Eight think tanks including World Health Organization, Mckinsey, World Bank, Development Research Center of the State Council and four Chinese universities have submitted their proposals on the reform to the ministry.

"The final plan of the reform will be a mixture of the proposals," he said.

China started a medical service reform in 1992 to abolish a system in which governments cover more than 90 percent of Chinese medical expenses.

Medical insurance has been introduced and promoted in urban areas in Guangdong and some other provinces since 1992 and cooperative medical care has been experimented in some rural counties to find a way to provide all Chinese with affordable medical service.

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