In recent years, China’s GDP growth rate has on average exceed nine percent annually. As a result, the country’s standard of living has improved, which encouraged more sophisticated health services. Thus, in combination with strong demands for better health care and growing population, has led China to embark on a major healthcare reform program, with the goals of establishing a national health system. The new system is not only a health care but also a new perspective in lifestyle and social economics circumstances on health. “Ultimately, the government plan to provide basic healthcare for all its citizens by 2020” (Hu, 2013). In order to achieve the plan, intentions including: expanding on basic medical insurance program, establishing essential drug system, and providing equal access to basic public health service for both urban and rural residents are made. Furthermore, reforms such as Rural Cooperative Medical System, Healthy China 2020, and World Bank Health VIII projects recently available to China, still, challenges exist in providing universal health care, especially in rural area, elders, and migrant workers.
Healthcare system gradually improved with higher awareness toward citizens’ living standards in China. The first healthcare system occurred during Mao Zedong’s regulation in 1949, and for the first time, healthcare system was under central government’s control. With 95 percent of population under poverty line, Chairman Mao saw the need to improve people’s health, therefore create a stronger nation. Rural Cooperative Medical System was the contribution to rural residents. Allowing resident to pay on monthly wages, individual was able to get some support from government and seek for medical support when needed (Hsiao, 1999).
Three-tier government provided the experience citizens needed in rural areas. The first tier consisted of barefoot doctors that were trained in basic examination and traditional Chinese medicine. Without international trade and open market, China was lack in expose to western technologies; therefore, western medicine was rare and expensive. Second-tier government was township center that located in villages. Central government provided township centers in order to secure more serious health problem that could not be exam by eyesight. Last, the county hospitals processed all the surgeries. Through this three-tier government, China’s life expectancy grew from 35 years old to 63.2 years from 1949 to 1975 (Hong, 2011).
Basic Medical Insurances
Three major health insurance programs cover three specific groups: New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) for rural residents, Urban Employees Basic Medical Insurance for urban residents and last Urban Residents Basic Medical Insurance for unemployed urban residents. Unlike the rest, New Rural Cooperative operates under Ministry of Health, which handles social issues related to rural area and public health service. Despite the department’s...