In this article, I introduce the Chinese Healthcare System. From establishment of the People's Republic of China till now, the Chinese healthcare have a lot of changes and revolutions. Due to the special social and economic structure, Chinese healthcare system is different from other countries healthcare system. This article will explain how dose Chinese healthcare system work? What problems dose it have? How can we manage those problems?
After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the country was recovering from the chaos of long conflicts both internally and with Japan. As a result, Chinese health conditions had declined, with health ...view middle of the document...
Although the achievement in improving health and expanding health care infrastructure during the planned-economy period is certainly indisputable, the merits of this health system may have been overestimated. First, as noted, health in China was extremely poor when the country gained independence. It might have been easy to improve health starting from this low point, since several urgent needs could have been easily addressed. Second, health care is not the only factor that influences health. Between approximately 1950 and 1990, nutrition, hygiene, education, living standards, and even culture changed dramatically in China (Hsiao,1995). These changes could have greatly affected improvements in health.
Since the early 1980s, China has experienced fundamental economic reform and societal transformation. In this context, the health care system—and many other public services— have undergone changes that are often characterized as privatization. As early as 1980, the Chinese Ministry of Health reviewed the situation and recommended legalizing private medical practice under strict regulation. In 1985 the State Council, the Chinese equivalent of the U.S. cabinet, directed that private medical practice be encouraged (Lim, Yang, Zhang, Feng, et al., 2004).
Urban healthcare and rural healthcare
Due to the unique dual social and economic structure, health care was delivered very differently in China’s urban and rural areas. In the cities, all revenues and expenditures were planned and controlled by the government, health services were directly organized and almost completely funded by the government, and urban residents only paid a small registration fee to receive treatment. In the rural areas, the commune was the keystone of all aspects of life. Communes, the critical institutes that represented the peasants, owned the land and organized every activity, including farming, distributing products, and supplying social services such as health care and education. Health care was provided in the Cooperative Medical System (CMS), which was mostly financed through a commune’s collective revenue and was minimally supported by the central government in the form of low-priced medicine and equipment. The CMS operated village and township health clinics that were staffed mostly by practitioners who had only basic health care training. These so-called barefoot doctors received much publicity and praise in the West for their supposed effectiveness in meeting the needs of rural populations (Lim, M. K., H. Yang, T. Zhang, W. Feng, Z. Zhou, 2004).
There were also dramatic changes in the rural health care system. After 1982 the rural economic system changed from the collective economy under the communes to one based on individual household decisions. As a result of this change, the CMS collapsed rapidly as it lost its institutional base for fund-raising (Project Team of the Development Research Center of the State Council of China, 2005).