Business China is in the initial phases of its health care reform campaign, which was formed last year and intends to cover more than 90 percent of all Chinese citizens by the end of 2011. The Chinese government is pouring US$124 billion into the health care program as a part of its US$586 billion economic stimulus package. A quick evaluation of the current health care situation in China reveals the countrys dire need for drastic change in the system. Out of Chinas 1.3 billion citizens, 110 million people are above the age of 65, compared with 39.5 million in the United States. Chinas current health care system is ill-equipped to deal with its aging population, as most residents residing outside of Chinas urban areas must pay out of their own pockets to receive medical treatment. Of the approximately 713 million Chinese citizens living outside of Chinas major cities, 90 percent must pay for their own health care, and the 3 percent who are privately insured nationwide must pay roughly 60 percent on average for their medical services. The root of the issue that leads to inadequate health care coverage is the gap between the urban and rural government subsidization. Chinas largest cities are expatriate hubs and attract the majority of government funding in most industries. Health care facilities are no exception to this trend, and rural and suburban hospitals often fall through the cracks. Hospitals in those areas therefore make the bulk of their revenue from sales on medication, and often recommend unnecessary and expensive medications to patients in order to make a profit. As of this year, there are approximately 20,000 public and private hospitals in China. Health care reform has seen the renovation of 1,000 of these hospitals so far, and the government aims to renovate 1,000 more by the end of 2010. It also hopes to build a mix of 30,000 more hospitals, care centers, and clinics by the close of 2011. In 2009, US$10 billion of the allocated funding for health care was put to use in providing medical services to 833 million people, and medical reimbursements for individuals increased by an average of 60 percent. The government hopes to use the remaining funding to provide universal health care to its citizens by 2020, improve hospital information technology, and to reduce prices on medication, among other aspects of reform. However, critics of the health care reform plan see Chinas massive investment not as an overhaul, but as a superficial fix for the deeper problem of inequality between rural and urban areas. Another concern is that reduced prices on medication will pose a problem for hospitals trying to generate revenue, which may cause unforeseen complications to the current health care system. Chinas pace has so far matched its goals on health care reform, leaving little doubt about its ability to reach its targeted numbers. What remains to be seen, however, is the quality of services at the end of its 10-year reform. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: