China will further expand the coverage of its basic medical insurance system and ease the cost of medical services in the next five years, Health Minister Chen Zhu said.
Speaking at a meeting on the reform of the health care system, Chen said medical expenditure for individuals had been cut to 38.2% of China’s annual overall spending on medical services in 2009, down from 60% in 2001.
The new target is to bring it below 30%, he said.
He said China is steadily pushing towards a system of affordable access to essential drugs for all patients. In the areas already covered by basic medicine system, the average price of basic medicine has dropped by around 30%.
China.org.cn reported Chen as saying that in 2011, more measures will be made to restructure the distribution of public hospitals, reform government-run traditional Chinese medical institutions and support building and developing hospitals in county-level regions.