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A look at Premier Li’s efforts to promote medical reform

Updated: Oct 6,2016 3:10 PM

In this year’s government work report, Premier Li Keqiang stressed coordinated reform of medical care, insurance and drugs, and made great effort to solve difficulties in the process.

Medical big data

“Enhancing the development of medical big data is a pressing task now. It is also an important project for public welfare, in the context of a growing need for health and medical services,” Premier Li said.

At the State Council executive meeting on June 8, Premier Li urged building a health and medical data platform across the country to provide better medical services for the public and promote the development of health and the medical industry.

Internet Plus medical care

Premier Li visited the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone on March 25 in South China’s Hainan province, China’s first medical tourism center. When he saw experts on cancer therapy from hospitals from Hainan province, Tianjin municipality and the University of Hamburg in Germany discussing the treatment methods for a Chinese patient through remote devices on the internet, the Premier highly praised the “medical care plus the internet” treatment method.

“Even though you are thousands of miles apart, the remote medical care devices close distances by bringing you together,” Premier Li said.

Medical tourism

At the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone, Premier Li also praised the new business model that combines medical care with vacation.

The Premier stated that medical tourism is a project of people’s livelihood and a form of the new economy. “People’s health is the basis for China’s long-term development, so a high standard should be set for the medical tourism industry,” he said.

National portability of medical insurance

At a news conference after the conclusion of the national legislature’s annual session on March 16, Premier Li answered a question concerning the timetable to achieve national portability of medical insurance.

“The Chinese government is fully determined to achieve national portability of medical insurance schemes at a faster pace. This year we will basically achieve direct settlement of such expenses at the provincial level. And we also plan to use two years to achieve the direct settlement of hospitalized expenses by retired elderly people in places away from their hometowns, so as to remove this high concern in the minds of our people”, the Premier said.

Serious disease insurance plan

Premier Li said in delivering this year’s Government Work Report that all residents in urban and rural areas must be covered by critical illness insurance by the end of this year, and the central government will allocate more funds to reduce medical burdens for patients with critical illness.

At the State Council executive meeting on July 22, 2015, the Premier also stressed that critical illness insurance is the key to guarding the bottom line of society, and reassured the public it will provide affordable medical treatments to those who suffered from critical illness.

Unified basic health insurance system

“We will merge the basic medical insurance systems for rural and non-working urban residents and raise government subsidies for the scheme from 380 to 420 yuan per capita per annum.” Premier Li said in this year’s Government Work Report. In January, the State Council issued a guideline on the integration of basic medical insurance for urban employees and the new rural cooperative medical plan, which are aimed at creating a unified basic health insurance system.

Drug price

Premier Li stressed further deepening medical system reform at a State Council executive meeting on April 6. He laid out detailed jobs, including setting up responsibility tracing mechanisms and promoting information transparency, in an effort to reduce medicine prices. He also stressed the importance of improving the merit pay system for medical institutions at a grass roots level.

Drug quality

A State Council executive meeting on Feb 14, presided over by Premier Li, decided to advance the upgrade and innovation of the pharmaceutical industry. “We are determined to enhance the quality of drugs,” said the Premier, adding that healthy development of the pharmaceutical industry and further medical reform should be integrated to better serve people and boost growth.

Development of TCM

At the executive meeting on Feb 14, Premier Li also urged promoting the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with “an open mind”.

“While maintaining the characteristics of TCM, we should further promote the development of TCM with an open mind,” he said.