Healthcare in China

20 Feb

It has been argued by Francis Fukuyama that China will continue to thrive economically regardless of the inequality its governance seems to be generating. The progress made by the Chinese government, to reform the country economically, is undeniable. The world has seen its rise from abject poverty to a status that competes with the once superpowers of the world, in terms of economic power and political influence. However, China’s attempted development within the field of health care has arguably failed when compared to their other advances. It has been said that this under-performance was due to the method used by the government to reform China’s economy; they eliminated many of the health care and pension schemes. This process was known as ‘shattering the iron rice bowl’. This was a short-term solution and the hope was that private enterprises would start to provide the benefits historically provided by the government. However, this never happened; resulting in health care in China deteriorating further over the past thirty years.


In 2009, the government introduced a health stimulus plan in order to modernize the country’s medical infrastructure, as well to create an insurance program to provide basic coverage to over 97% of people. China aimed to introduce 150,000 new primary care physicians, build over 29,000 hospitals and upgrade the existing hospitals and clinics. These goals have not yet been reached and the government has come to the realization that the country will need further reforms within the healthcare system in order to provide adequate care for the current population. Along with this realization came the adjustment to the country’s Foreign Direct Investment.


In 2011 the government announced that they would accommodate Wholly Foreign Owned Entities (WFOE) as investors in China’s hospital space. The Ministry of Health recently announced its aim that 20% of all hospital patients be seen by private operators by 2015. They believe this will be possible because foreign investors are more likely to create new capacity within the health care system.



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