September 28, 2008

China's full moon rising on private health care

China to actively encourage private investment in health care - official

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - The government will actively encourage private investment in the health care industry as it looks to provide equal access to medical care nationwide, said Wang Jun, vice minister at the ministry of finance.

Speaking at a forum in Beijing, Wang said China has made great progress in improving the scope and quality of health care, but he added there are still structural and institutional constraints to the development of the sector.

Wang said the government would actively readjust the structure of the industry, including bolstering cooperation between public and private partners.

'Strengthening cooperation between public and private partners is one of the most effective means of improving the overall development of health care,' Wang said.

'The Chinese government will actively encourage private capital to enter the health care industry. We need to introduce market-oriented mechanisms in the provision of health care which would be conducive to the improvement of health care resources and better meet the diverse needs of the general public,' he added.

Preferential tax policies would help ensure everyone had equal access to health care, Wang said, without elaborating.

But he noted that rural health care lagged other areas and there is a 'huge gap' between government spending and the 'ever increasing demand from the general public for health care.'

'A lot of private capital is not being utilised effectively yet, and a diversified health care provision system is not yet in place, ' Wang said.

He added that a team assembled to plan the reform would use international experience and push for more expenditure in the sector and a greater emphasis on rural health.