Monday, October 20, 2008

Health Train Express International

 

Perhaps we should emulate the Chinese in revising our health care system.  Long considered primitive regarding health care, China is taking a bold step toward caring for it's billion or more people.

The Chinese however may have an advantage that much like building a home, it is much easier and less expensive to start from scratch.  The United States is faced with disassembling a system that has grown over the past 100 years or more and transitioning to a better means of financing health care.   We see that a large barrier to transitioning lies in the financing. Converting to a new system will be disruptive financially, and  old habits are difficult to break.

The Wall Street Journal reports that China is aiming for universal heatlh care.

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The proposed plan would be quite a shift for China. The draft plan’s overall goal is to cover 90% of the population within two years and achieve universal care by 2020. It aims to return to non-profit national health care, an idea that was largely abandoned in the country 1980s.

This all stands in contrast to China’s current system, which provides little government funding to government hospitals and requires patients to pay heavy out-of-pocket expenses. The WSJ notes that out-of-pocket payments made up more than 60% of health spending in China at the end of the 1990s.

The plan — drafted in consultation with groups including the World Health Organization, the World Bank, consultant McKinsey & Co. and a few Chinese university-based public health experts —-----The government also aims to set pricing standards for medical services.

Other news about Chinese health care, Pharma,Western style hospitals is in the Wall Street Journal. And what does Heparin have to do with hot dogs?

In China as in the United States reform has it's skeptics.

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