Medicare in China's Shaanxi21st February 2007
Payouts to farmers in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi under the newly established rural cooperative medicare system rose sevenfold to around £25 million (US$50 million) last year, compared with 2005.
The scheme, which was relaunched after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003, now covers around 12 million farmers in the province, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Under the scheme, central, provincial, city and county governments chip in to provide 40 yuan (£2.65) for every 10 yuan that the patient pays from their own pocket for healthcare.
Nationwide, farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for any medical care at all, according to a recent survey by the Ministry of Health.
The survey found that around a third of poor rural patients didn't bother to seek medical attention at all in the event of illness, with 45% of rural in-patients asking to be discharged before they had fully recovered.
Officials say the cooperative system currently covers 51% of rural communities. They hope to extend it to cover all China's rural residents by 2008, Xinhua said.
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Title: Medicare in China's Shaanxi
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 2065
Date Added: 21st Feb 2007