China targets 90% rural healthcare coverage

July 16, 2012

BEIJING – The Health Ministry plans to cover most of the population of China’s poverty-stricken areas with a rural healthcare scheme by 2015.  The guidelines, covering the 2011-15 period, stipulate that 90% of inhabitants in regions under the national poverty line will be covered by an existing rural cooperative medical cooperative program, into which both governments and individuals contribute.

By 2015, the annual government subsidy for each rural resident in those areas will be raised to US$56.7 from the current US$31.3, under the plan.

Vice-Minister of Health Liu Qian said in May that such subsidy will be raised to US$37.6 this year, and rural residents will pay a premium of US$9.4 per person themselves.

Rural residents living under the official poverty line will have 75% of their inpatient expenses reimbursed as of 2015 and coverage for outpatient costs will be boosted, according to the guidelines.

The Ministry has promised to implement more poverty-relief projects in remote mountainous regions as well as parts of Tibet and Xinjiang, among other poor areas.

In November last year, China raised its official poverty line by 92% to US$360.5 of annual income per capita in rural areas, causing more people to be qualified as “poor” despite the country’s booming economy.

Source: China Daily

The radical revision redefined about 128 million Chinese in rural areas, a number equivalent to the population of Japan, as poor, 100 million more than under the previous standard.

The new threshold of about US$1 a day is much closer to the World Bank’s poverty standard of US$1.25 a day.

Category: Community

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