More accessible and affordable healthcare for all: China’s government has outlined several proposals to expand healthcare reform in a report released 4th June by the General Office of the State Council. These proposals include improving disease and treatment systems, expanding rural healthcare, and reforming hospital management and pricing.
Health is a prerequisite for people’s all-round development and a precondition for economic and social development
-President Xi Jinping
Many of the proposed reforms from the 4th June circular fall under the umbrella of the Healthy China 2030 strategy. This program aims to increase Chinese citizens’ average life expectancy from 76.4 years to 77.3 years by 2020 and 79 years by 2030. At China’s National Health Conference in 2016, President Xi Jinping commented that “health is a prerequisite for people’s all-round development and a precondition for economic and social development.” With collaboration from more than 20 different sectors, a vision has been implemented for a significantly expanded health industry. This includes strengthening China’s health science and technology innovation, which rank amongst the world’s best.
The government intends to enhance disease prevention and treatment systems by promoting cancer screenings and bringing anti-cancer drugs to market more quickly. Healthy China 2030’s benchmark is that chronic disease care and management will cover the lifelong needs of all people and that the overall five-year survival rate of cancer patients will increase by 15%. Additionally, China plans to test the centralization of drug procurement and usage. The national drug system will be consolidated and developed to ensure universal access to essential drugs.
Other proposed reforms tackle pricing and compensation, as well as changes to the cross-provincial settlement of medical bills. Local institutions will be asked to build “dynamic and reasonable pricing systems” for healthcare services provided, and efforts will be made to control and improve cross-provincial medical bill settlement. With the goal of enhancing quality, China will conduct reforms of 500 county hospitals and 500 traditional medicine hospitals. Public hospital management will see a shift toward spending more on improving doctors’ incomes rather than the hospitals’ equipment or buildings.
To reach under-served areas, the government will ensure access to healthcare services in central and western China by increasing funds to national and regional medical centres, as well as sending medical students to village hospitals in rural and underdeveloped areas.