by Michael Woodhead
Unlike political parties in the west, China's ruling Communist Party does not have to publish an election manifesto with budget commitments or account for where it has allocated its budget spending. However, following the recent National People's Congress meeting in Beijing, the Party has released some 'budget statements'. They're pretty vague and there isn't anyone or any agency to check on the figures, but this is what they had to say about health:
1. Spending on medical and health care last year amounted to 259 billion yuan,
99.4% of the budgeted figure and a 26.4% increase.
2. We raised government
subsidies for the new rural cooperative medical care system and basic
medical insurance for nonworking urban residents to 280 yuan per person
3. Most provincial-level administrative areas unveiled plans to
introduce serious illness insurance for their rural and nonworking urban
4. We increased the standard of funding for basic public health
services to 30 yuan per person per year, and continued to support major
public health service projects.
5. We made steady progress in the pilot
reform of county-level public hospitals and the comprehensive reform of
community medical and health care centers, and launched a pilot program
for posting general practitioners in such institutions.
6. We moved ahead
with developing a system for providing assistance in dealing with
- First, we must facilitate the reform of the medical and health care
systems. In line with the requirements for each year's work set forth in
the plan for deepening the reform of the medical and health care
systems during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, we will increase
government subsidies for the new rural cooperative medical care system
and basic medical insurance for nonworking urban residents from 280 yuan
to 320 yuan per person per year and accordingly increase the annual
individual contribution from 70 to 90 yuan per person.
- We will more
quickly push ahead the work of insuring rural and nonworking urban
residents against serious illnesses to further reduce their burden of
- We will increase input in medical assistance in urban
and rural areas, expand access to such assistance, and provide
assistance to those suffering from serious mental illness.
- We will
increase financial input in public health, continue to implement basic
and major public health services projects, and raise annual per capita
spending on basic public health services to 35 yuan.
- We will continue
with the trials on comprehensive reform in county-level public
hospitals, and develop better policies of subsidizing community medical
and health care centers to motivate them and their staff to enhance
their services in terms of both quantity and quality.
But wait, there's more:
* We will abolish the practice
of compensating for low medical service charges with high drug prices,
adjust the prices of medical care and drugs, and create a mechanism for
running hospitals by nongovernmental capital.
* We will consolidate and
improve the system of using basic medicines and the new mechanisms for
operating community-level clinics.
* We will improve the system of tiered
medical services, strengthen training of general practitioners, and
allow doctors to work in more than one medical institution so that
people have easy access to quality medical services.
* We will build
harmonious relations between doctors and patients.
* We will
improve our capacity to prevent and treat major communicable and chronic
diseases and occupational and endemic diseases. The government subsidy
for basic public health services will be increased to 35 yuan per
* We will support the development of traditional Chinese medicine
and the traditional medicine of ethnic minorities.
* We will unwaveringly
adhere to the basic state policy of family planning and will implement
the policy that allows married couples to have two children if one
parent is a single child.
* We must resolutely press ahead with medical
reform and work out a Chinese solution to this global problem so that
the Chinese people can enjoy a happier and healthier life.
So there you have it ....