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International Healthcare in China



Healthcare in China

In 2005, the Chinese central government commissioned a health care task force to look into ways to reform the country's health care industry.  The task force was named Rural Co-operative Medical Care System (NRCMCS) and the primary objective was to discover new ways to make health care affordable to its huge population, with priority on rural areas.  After scrutinizing the cost structures related to health care in the country, NRCMCS has come up with an interesting proposition.  It proposed that medical costs to be reduced per patient. A tiered-subsidy was also suggested: to lower the amount and to fund it through the central government, and the rest from the provincial government; this effectively means that the concerned patient just have to foot the remainder 20% of the Healthcare bill. The Healthcare proposal was viewed positively by the population and it enjoys an overwhelming support from the rural Chinese.  Official figures put it as much as 80% of the rural population (that is a mind-boggling 685 million people) have indicated they are willing to sign on this Medical plan. There is also an element of location-based subsidy in this proposal.  If a patient is willing to seek consultation at a local hospital or small town clinic, the maximum subsidy allowable could reach as much as 80% of the medical costs.  If a patient chooses to receive medical help at a county clinic, no more than 60% would be disbursed as subsidy.  If a patient is to visit a modern city hospital, the maximum subsidy drops to just 30% of the total medical bill.

Long term Healthcare goal in China

 The longer-term goal of the health authority of the central government is still about achieving universal health care.  A white paper has been drafted and published to solicit the opinions of the local populace.  Two specific areas of a healthcare have been singled out for emphasis and they are the need to stabilize healthcare charges as well as to secure the corresponding funds to sustain the national healthcare programs.  There is still flaw or imbalance in the existing system in that a substantial number of citizens who are still restricted to access comprehensive healthcare or patients are made to pay exorbitant prices to receive adequate medical treatment.

 China has a long history of practice of medicine throughout its 5000 years civilization and this is recognized as traditional Chinese medicine (or TCM in short).  The Chinese government harbors an ambition to further expand and develop this particular field of medicine.

China and Western Healthcare

 This ambitious effort does not hamper the proliferations of Western medicine and Healthcare throughout the country.  It was first introduced to China mainland when it opened up its country for international trades.  International Medical diversity prospered and grew in popularity after the late 70s.  To underscore this point, the number of Western-trained physicians and pharmacists registered from the period of 1976 to 1981 was an amazing 250,000 in the country.

 Additionally, one can also find the 'barefoot doctors' in the rural areas. This is the term used to describe the local medical practitioners who are commonly associated to small and remote towns.  It is a largely unregulated profession.  But the modernization process which China went through has brought wealth to the rural people and modern communal healthcare centers or county clinics have mushroomed, which more or less make the services from 'barefoot doctors' obsolete.  In fact, this has prompted to believe that if such 'barefoot doctors' could withstand the development of these modern medical facilities.  Another issue that lingers which could spell the extinction of these 'barefoot doctors' is the growing demand of agricultural crops.  Nowadays, it is definitely more profitable for one to become a farmer than to dispense traditional medical advises to prospective patients.  This is a real threat as it not only put into questions about the continual existence of 'barefoot doctors' but also it discourages youngsters to participate in corporative medical programs.

 The Chinese authority wants to improve its Healthcare system.  A number of health-related programs have been initiated throughout the country in recent years, with focus on individual's hygiene, healthy diets and epidemic control system.

Medical Cost in China for expatriates

It is not rare to find medical facilities costing more than $10,000 for pregnancy delivery in China.

As an expatriate in China you should be covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance plan as Medical cost in China can be substantially high. In fact some Hospitals facilities in China are as expensive as medical facilities found in the US.


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