In the 2012 China Health Forum hold on the 17th of August, the Chinese Ministry of Health released the strategic report of Healthy China 2020. Ten measurable goals were included in the report. For instance, the life expectancy will reach 77 years old by 2020, the mortality rate of children under age 5 lower than 13‰, and the maternal mortality rate lower than 20/100 thousand, etc. And most importantly, total health expenditure will take up 6.5-7% of GDP.
More efforts are planned in the Chinese premier’s work report for 2015. Premier Li said, “we will work more quickly to improve the basic medical and healthcare systems”. The annual government subsidy for the basic medical insurance for rural and non-working urban residents will be increased from 320 yuan to 380 yuan per person. The reimbursement processes will be sped up. They will deepen the comprehensive reform of community-level medical and healthcare institutions, strengthen the general practitioner system, and improve the system of tiered diagnosis and treatment. They will fully implement the comprehensive reform of county-level public hospitals, and trial public hospital reform in 100 cities at or above the prefecture level. They will put a stop to the practice of charging more for medicines to make up for low prices for services. They will encourage doctors to practice in community-level clinics in addition to their regular practice and help the development of nongovernmental hospitals. They will increase the annual subsidy for government expenditures on basic public health services from 35 yuan to 40 yuan per capita, with the entire additional sum to be used for paying for rural doctors to provide basic public health services. In the end, Premier Li emphasized, “good health is a basic public necessity, so we must work consistently to raise the standard of medical and healthcare services to create a healthy China”.
These statements correspond to the ultimate goals of Healthy China 2020. All the increased investment from the government will definitely drive up the momentum of healthcare reforms currently underway in China. One of the major problems in Chinese healthcare system is that there are great demands for tertiary care hospitals due to the insufficiency of primary care institutions and people’s lack of confidence in them. Therefore, the comprehensive reform of community-level medical and healthcare institutions, the general practitioner system, and the referral system is actually the backbone of a healthy healthcare delivery system.
All the renewed efforts signal business opportunities in healthcare. Public sectors shoulder up at least 90% of the healthcare services provided in China. With the government encouraging the development of non-government healthcare institutions and community level services, the private sector should know where to look to by now.