July 6, 2009 -- China's Ministry of Finance announced on Monday that the country allocated 10.4 billion yuan (1.53 billion U.S. dollars) in subsidies for nationwide public health care service in 2009.
The fund is part of the country's efforts to carry out the medical reform plan and to improve basic public health care service nationwide, said the ministry in a statement on its website.
The Chinese government passed the medical reform plan in January, which promised to spend 850 billion yuan by 2011 to provide universal health care to the country's 1.3 billion population.
The funds will be used to establish a "stable health service mechanism and medical insurance for the rural and urban community".
On July 5, the ministries of finance, health, civil affairs, human resources and social security, and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued a circular, asking local governments to increase funding for public health care system.
The circular said that investment from governments at all levels should aim at providing universal basic medical services and supporting public health services, medical insurance systems and medicine supply and safety.
Governments are also required to invest more to strengthen management and supervision of food and medicines, said the circular.