China to further ease cost of medical services: minister

10:02, February 19, 2011      

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In the next five years, China will further expand the coverage of its basic medical insurance system and ease the cost of medical services, Health Minister Chen Zhu said Friday.

Chen made the remarks while addressing a meeting for the reform of the health care system.

The medical expenditure that shouldered by individuals had been cut to 38.2 percent of China's annual overall spending on medical services in 2009, down from 60 percent in 2001, thanks to increasing government funding support for the measure, said Chen.

He said the country is striving to bring down the ratio to below 30 percent by the end of the country's 12th five-year plan period (2011-2015).

China is steadily pushing towards the implementation of a basic medicine system which aims to ensure affordable access to essential drugs for patients, Chen said.

In the areas already covered by basic medicine system, the average price of basic medicine has dropped by around 30 percent, Chen added.

He said that the reform of government-run hospitals, which is key to ensure that the masses gain universal access to basic health care services, must be undertaken.

In 2011, more measures will be made to restructure the distribution of public hospitals, reform government-run traditional Chinese medical institutions and support building and developing hospitals in county-level regions, Chen said.

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