Premier Li Keqiang said that China’s healthcare reform will benefit not only Chinese people but also future generations at the State Council executive meeting on Oct 9.
At the meeting, a briefing was made on the comprehensive reform of public hospitals and on the establishment of medical partnerships, and a decision was made to map out the national network of basic healthcare insurance and the settlement of off-site treatment.
By the end of September 2017, all provincial regions had been connected to the cross-region treatment system, so that patients’ expense during their stay in hospital could be settled beyond the place where they had signed up for healthcare insurance.
More than 100 million migrant workers are in fact the second-biggest group who benefit from the off-site settlement, behind the seniors who live with their children in non-hometown cities. The Premier stressed that the cross-region settlement of migrant workers’ medical expense should be solved as soon as possible, because it is a matter of social justice.
China has set up a healthcare network covering its entire 1.3 billion population, the biggest one in the world.
Recently, The Lancet, a renowned magazine in the medical community, issued the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (1990-2015), recognizing China as one of the three countries that have made the most remarkable progress.
By September 2017, drug price markups policy, which has been adopted for over 60 years in public hospitals, had been canceled.
Premier Li said canceling price markups on drugs cannot only ease people’s burden, but also tackle problems such as misuse of antibiotics.
The difficult part ahead lies in how to consolidate achievements of the medical reform. As for the decline in hospital revenue after removal of medicine markups, Premier Li said “We should never let the people pay the cost”.
The State Council meeting urged improving the operation mechanism of public hospitals, calling on the National Health and Family Planning Commission to formulate a scheme to consolidate the achievements so far, and asking support from the central finance.
In addition, the protection of the rights and interests of medical staff members is another difficulty to be tackled. The meeting asked the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security to expand the salary system reform for public hospitals, and establish a performance-based incentive mechanism, allowing public hospitals to have autonomy in personnel management.