China unveiled guidelines for developing a healthcare-reform plan that would provide basic medical insurance and access to preventive- and hospital-care services to all Chinese citizens by 2020, according to a story from the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Two years in the making, the guidelines included a commitment for the government to invest $124 billion over the next three years to expand city and rural healthcare services. The investment would also provide 90% of China residents with basic health insurance by 2011.
This is a very comprehensive plan, and it addresses a number of the problems that have been plaguing healthcare in China, said Asia healthcare policy expert Tsung-Mei Cheng, editor of the International Forum at Princeton Universitys Davis International Center. It addresses healthcare coverage, building of infrastructure and training of the healthcare workforce.
China officials have yet to publish the complete plan for implementing healthcare reform, but highlights of the effort include providing greater central and local funding of public hospitals, clinics and the medical insurance system; banning the controversial practice of physicians receiving prescribing commissions from drug manufacturers; regulating the price of drugs and medical services; and providing greater government supervision of medical-product manufacturers, retailers, medical institutions and health-insurance providers.