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Opinion / Forum Trends

Is free healthcare a luxury in China?

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-08-04 16:24

Editor's note: In spite of universal basic medical insurance coverage across China, patients often have to pay a large part of healthcare costs themselves, especially those with suffering serious diseases. The often exorbitant medical costs can be enough to ruin a family. According to the State Council Information Office, over 44% of Chinese households fall into poverty because of hefty medical bills. Can China achieve the universal free healthcare? Is it a luxury or necessity? Forum readers share their opinions.

Ted180 (Canada)

In most advanced countries (except the US!) there is a consensus that basic and essential medical care is a human right regardless of ability to pay. Even in the US, once a person reaches a hospital, he will receive all the essential treatments regardless of ability to pay (this is due to a danger of law-suits). So China will surely move toward some arrangements of tax-paid partial coverage. In Canada, the "basic care" is covered by tax-paid medicare. Private insurance can be purchased to cover "extras". Warning: To go beyond "basic" healthcare is VERY EXPENSIVE. It requires a high per capita GDP.

Is free healthcare a luxury in China?

A Chinese doctor talks with family members of a young patient as he examines him with a Type-b Ultrasonic Diagnostic Instrument at a hospital in Beijing, China, 11 September 2013. [Photo/IC]

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