China to spend $124 billion to boost health care system

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Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that China, facing economic problems like the US, will invest $124 billion over the next three years to expand insurance coverage, overhaul public hospitals and expand access to care. The goal is to have 90% of China’s 1.3 billion citizens covered by 2011 and have basic health care services available universally. The government is responding to significant public pressure over uninsurance and lack of care but also responding to concerns that people are not spending money because of health cost worries dragging down the economy. China’s shift to a market economy in the late 1980’s came with privatization of health care and reductions in public health services. The government is also instituting cost containment strategies, particularly to control drug costs.
If they can do it, why can’t we?
Ellen Andrews