Health System in China

Living reference work entry
Part of the Health Services Research book series (HEALTHSR)

Abstract

The health of China’s population improved dramatically during the first 30 years of the People’s Republic, established in 1949. By the mid-1970s, China was already undergoing the epidemiologic transition, years ahead of other nations of similar economic status, and by 1980, life expectancy (67 years) exceeded that of most similarly low-income nations by 7 years. Almost 30 years later, China’s 2009 health reforms were a response to deep inequity in access to affordable, quality healthcare resulting from three decades of marketization, including de facto privatization of the health sector, along with decentralized accountability and, to a large degree, financing of public health services. The reforms are built on earlier, equity-enhancing initiatives, particularly the reintroduction of social health insurance since 2003, and are planned to continue until 2020, with gradual achievement of overarching objectives on universal and equitable access to health services. The second phase of reform commenced in early 2012. China’s health reforms remain encouragingly specific but not prescriptive on strategy; set in the decentralized governance structure, they avoid the issue of reliance on local government support for the national equity objective, leaving the detailed design of health service financing, human resource distribution and accountability, essential drug lists and application of clinical care pathways, etc. to local health authorities answerable to local government, not the Ministry of Health. Community engagement in government processes, including in provision of healthcare, remains limited. This chapter uses the documentation and literature on health reform in China to provide a comprehensive overview of the current situation of the health sector and its reform in the People’s Republic.

Keywords

Hepatitis Insurance Coverage Dementia Income Assure 

Abbreviations

CDC

Communicable disease control

GDP

Gross domestic product

HMIS

Health MIS

HSR

Health system reform

LMIC

Low- and middle-income countries

MCH

Maternal and child health

MDGs

Millennium Development Goals

MIS

Management information system

MoH

Ministry of Health

NCDs

Noncommunicable diseases

NDRC

National Development and Reform Commission

NEDL

National Essential Drugs List

NEMS

National Essential Medicines Scheme

NHFPC

National Health and Family Planning Commission

PRC

People’s Republic of China

RCMS

Rural cooperative medical (insurance) scheme

RMB

Renminbi (unit of currency)

TCM

Traditional Chinese medicine

THE

Total health expenditure

UEBMI

Urban employees basic medical insurance

URBMI

Urban residents’ basic medical insurance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNICEFNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Nossal Institute for Global HealthUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.UNICEF ChinaBeijingChina

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