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China Human Rights Net > News > Focus > Health Care Reform Guidelines Unveiled in China 2009 > Analysis
China's health care reform focuses on public service
April 8, 2009 -- For Chinese people, "where there's sickness there's treatment" has been a dream for a long time. Recently, a new health care reform plan will finally be implemented and will bring China's health care system to a new level.

The highlight of the reform is to present the health care system as a public service. Health care system decides the well-being of millions of households and to a certain extent reflects the governing philosophy of a government. The implementation of new health care system will establish a solid foundation and raise our national public services to a higher level. It marks a milestone in the long-term development of the health care system.

The right to health is a basic human right and is usually seen as a core value of society and a symbol of fairness and justice. When defining a country as civilized or not it does not simply depend on material development but also on whether or not it protects the interests of the majority of people enabling members of society to enjoy achievements equally. International experience has shown that it's profitable to spend money on basic health care since it's an investment rather than consumption. The return will be an increase in economic income and also the improvement in quality of life. Thus, the right to health and equity is closely related to the happiness and dignity of people.

Health care is a special industry which carries forward the humanitarian spirit. William Oslar, the father of the modern clinical medicine once said that "no matter where you go, in the medical industry, the rules, the expectations and the goals are all the same." in the past 30 years, China's health care system has gone through lots of difficulties. Much less attention was paid to the problems and spending in this industry. Many public hospitals cared less for the patients' interests and more for their own profits. Some local governments failed in their duties of monitoring and always tried to "dump the burden". Soaring medical costs in recent years have plunged many rural and urban Chinese back into poverty as a result of the government's failure to implement an adequate medical insurance network after it cut subsidies for medical costs in 1992.

Mistakes have been made and only by adopting the new health care system and ensuring the non-profit nature of a public medical service can we solve the health care problems for the public.

Safeguarding the public service is the distinctive characteristic of the health care reform. The new reform program pays great attention to public services from the system itself to the rules and regulations in public hospitals. This shows that adhering to a non-profit nature will become an unshakable direction of health care reform. Emphasizing on the leading role of the government will indicate its responsibility for safeguarding the health care system.

The design of health care system is the "Mount Everest" of social policies. Different countries have different models with advantages and disadvantages. However, a good and equal health care system is an important indicator of the development of a country and it's impossible for China to realize "everyone enjoys the basic health care services equally" dream without adhering to the non-profit nature of the system.

There's no easy way to solve this problem for 1.3 billion people. However, the new medical reform has laid a solid foundation of a health care system with a Chinese characteristic. It can be foreseen that the new medical reform will benefit hundreds of millions of people, and "where there's sickness there's treatment" will not be a dream anymore.
  from:People Daily Online
China Society For Human Rights Studies
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