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China's healthcare is one of the lowest in the world
Cheng Jinsong / The EpochTimes
12/6/2003



Photo Caption: An old woman begs for money in the coolness of an underground pedestrian walkway 23 June 2000 as a young Beijing couple walks down the steps towards her. For a vast number of mainland Chinese, China's rapid push toward urban development, modernization and WTO membership has little meaning compared to their basic needs for secure employment, affordable housing, education, healthcare and food. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Stephen

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Barriers in China’s health care system
 
Chinese health officials said that those who complain about China’s healthcare system policies only see the American healthcare system as superior and fail to notice that healthcare in America suffers from it being “market-oriented” instead of “patient- oriented.” However, China’s healthcare system also has faults such as its focus on money instead of service and discrimination.

China’s and the United States healthcare systems differ greatly. Hospitals in the United States, for example, must provide emergency medical treatment to "walk-ins," and low-income patients can receive reduced or free medicine. Foreigners who reside in the U.S also have a right to free medical treatment as a "walk-in."

Patients in China, however, must pay first before receiving medical treatment, and as a result many dying patients are denied much needed medical treatment. Some patients have even died in front of the hospital because of their inability to pay. In 1998, a report disclosed that about one-third of Chinese people were unable to receive medical treatment, with the statistic being higher in poor, rural areas in China.

Discrimination against the poor is a definite problem in China that precludes many people getting medical attention. Farmers, for example, only receive 15.9% for healthcare expenses from the government even though they comprise 80% of the population. The government spends approximately $130 for citizens living in cities, while farmers only receive $10.70. Qualified medical personnel and updated equipment is also a serious problem in rural areas.

Chinese health officials agree that only one-third of the public healthcare system is operational and that huge expenses are caused by poor bureaucratic decisions.

The real problem for China’s poor healthcare policies is money. The government spends money on project such as the "Shan Zhou No. 5" rocket project, missiles and nuclear weapons and is unwilling to invest in education and healthcare even though improvement in those areas would help our future.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Chinese health system ranked 144 out of 191 countries, and is even below Iraq in providing good medical treatment. (In addition, China ranks 188, the 4th place from the last, for the line item “equity in sharing a doctor” – most likely has something to do with doctors per patient ratio.)

The Chinese health system is out-dated, and this was especially noticeable during the outbreak of SARS. The Canadian government, concerned about China’s healthcare policies, warned that the outbreak of SARS disease could return for the next spring.

The Chinese government covered up the highly contagious and deadly disease, which caused worldwide panic. After WHO seriously criticized the Chinese government, they donated $100 million in “hush” money to the WHO.

Many people cannot help but ask the government: Where is the money to improve our outdated medical and healthcare system?

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