Thursday, December 22, 2005

Medical coverage in the People's Republic

Liberals like to toss out Cuba as a fine example of compassionate centrally-planned government-run health care, usually by citing some bogus Castro stat about infant mortality.

While we haven't heard any moonbats proclaiming China's health care system to be the 8th wonder of the world, at least not yet, we do have some interesting information at our disposal on the rate of China's health care coverage and the average person's outlook when they are ill, courtesy of the China Daily.

About 65.7 percent of China's population have no medical insurance, according to a blue paper here Wednesday.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) issued a blue paper, titled "Analysis and predictions of China's social situation 2006".

A recent CASS survey shows approximately a quarter of those asked gave up medical insurance because they could not afford the premiums, the paper said.

Ordinary Chinese people find it too expensive to go to hospital and about 48.9 percent choose not to seek medical attention when they have an illness, according to China's third survey of health care services earlier this month.

A medical bill scandal involving treatment costs as high as 10 million yuan (1.23 million US dollars) for a patient in a northeast China's Harbin hospital has drawn a lot of attention and criticism from the public recently.

In 1985, China launched reforms of its public health care system which expanded the decision-making power of hospitals. Government investment in this area has been gradually reduced.

Currently, governments contribute only 15 percent of total health care costs while patient fees make up 60 percent, sources with the Chinese Ministry of Health said.
So there you have it. China essentially gave up on its single-payer system about 20 years ago, and apparently no one else has stepped up to the plate to fill the void. (Or been allowed to.)

You have to give the Chinese points for honesty. The Soviets maintained, 'til the very last tank was removed from outside the Duma at the time of the great collapse, that their health care system was the very model of perfection. We've since learned that, like many boasts of the communist era, it was just another piece of propaganda to be picked up and repeated by the useful idiots overseas, many of whom are still clinging to their collective worship of hoary nostrums deader than Lenin's well-kept cadaver.

The Chinese people cannot afford health care because they do not make enough money, despite the fact that the Chinese are posting $100 billion annual trade surpluses with the United States. The Chinese government long ago decided it wouldn't subsidize health care very much, and that's that.

Do we really want to go down the road of single-payer, government-run, centrally-planned and managed health care?


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