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Govt to increase funding for medical reform
2013-03-20
  The government has spent more than 2.2 trillion yuan ($354 billion) to support the ongoing medical reform that was launched in 2009 and aims to make healthcare affordable and accessible for all citizens by 2020.
  Wang Bao'an, vice-minister of finance, revealed the figure on Thursday at a news conference on medical and healthcare system reform held by the first session of the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing.
  According to him, that accounted for 5.7 percent of total government spending.
  By international standards of calculation, that should be about 12.5 percent, "which is even higher than that in developed countries like Greece and Switzerland", he noted.
  In the future, "the government will further increase funding for the medical and healthcare sector to support the reform", he said.
  More than 95 percent of the Chinese population is covered by public health insurance policies, statistics from the Ministry of Health showed.
  To achieve almost universal healthcare, the government has spent more than 680 billion yuan, mainly to set up unprecedented health insurance programs for farmers and the urban unemployed, Wang said.
  Before 2003, most of them had no health policies, said Wu Ming, assistant director of Peking University's Health Science Center.
  So far, 98 percent of farmers on the Chinese mainland have chosen to participate in the policy, official statistics showed.
  Meanwhile, to enhance their access to medical services, more than 130 billion yuan has been spent, mainly on infrastructure construction and talent recruitment at grassroots-level medical institutions, according to Sun Zhigang, director of the health reform office of the State Council.
  Public hospitals, particularly grassroots ones, are required to provide services in the nature of public goods, said Ma Xiaowei, vice-minister of health.
  
  
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