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Healthcare and tourism are in focus

Updated: Jul 25,2017 7:30 AM     China Daily

number of ministries responded to a series of public concerns over the past week, including public healthcare insurance, tourism and government procurements.

Insurance covers more medicines

Another 36 expensive medicines have been added to the list of public healthcare insurance coverage, according to a notice recently released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

With subsidies from healthcare insurance, the average prices of those medicines has dropped by 44 percent, compared to those in 2016, the notice said.

Some medicines will be sold at only 30 percent of last year’s price. Imported medicines will sell less than in surrounding economies, significantly reducing medical bills for patients.

On the list are 31 Western medicines and five Chinese, taken to alleviate diseases such as lung cancers and kidney ailments.

$80 billion to aid rural tourism

China has moved to promote the development of rural tourism with increased investment and supportive policies as the government expects to help tackle poverty in rural areas and boost growth.

This year will see 550 billion yuan ($80 billion) being invested into the sector, according to an action plan recently released by the National Development and Reform Commission and 13 other ministries.

In comparison, rural tourism received an investment of less than 390 billion yuan last year.

Benefiting from such enormous investment, rural infrastructure and tourist services will be greatly improved, with better facilities such as cleaner restrooms, more efficient sewage treatment and garbage disposal, as well as more convenient parking and information centers.

The document highlighted the participation of private capital and financing models, including the public-private-partnership that has been widely adopted in a large number of projects in fields such as environmental protection.

Financial support will be given to small and medium-sized travel agencies and villages are encouraged to cooperate with online providers of travel services to more easily attract customers.

The document predicted that 2.5 billion trips will be made to the countryside while travelers will spend as much as 1.4 trillion yuan in rural tourism sites this year. About 9 million families in rural areas will benefit.

The plan will see the building of 1,000 key villages and 1,000 people in developing rural tourism.

The past few years have seen a soaring growth in rural tourism revenues in the country as an increasing number of urban residents seek to visit rural areas.

Procurement procedures change

Maximum purchase prices will replace minimum prices for government procurements, the Ministry of Finance said in a revised regulation.

Revised management rules for government procurements and bidding for services require governmental purchasers to formulate reasonable plans before making purchases.

They should carefully evaluate prices based on market research, considering technologies, services, product supplies and prices.

Purchasers are allowed to set maximum purchase prices rather than the minimum prices within the quota of purchasing budgets, the new regulation stipulated.

Highways lead tourism drive

Six departments, including the Ministry of Transport and the National Tourism Administration, jointly released a guideline on July 18 to promote integrated development of transportation and tourism.

Tourism-related services and facilities, such as resting and entertainment areas, ticketing, travel information sharing, parking lots and charging stations for new energy vehicles, will be established in highway service areas, according to the document.

The guideline also encouraged better-marked and more accessible entrances and exits along expressways to facilitate travelers to go to popular scenic areas nearby.