Fri, Jun 30, 2017 - Page 5 News List

China to introduce healthcare payment system reforms

DRUG PROBLEM:China’s authorities are worried about rising drug prices and copayments, and aim for reforms to cover all medical care by 2020

Reuters, SHANGHAI

China is to push to diversify how it pays the healthcare costs for its population of almost 1.4 billion people in a bid to stem “irrational growth” of medical costs, the Chinese Ministry of Finance said in a statement yesterday.

The ministry would develop and trial payment methods, including those that set fees according to initial patient diagnoses, standard fees linked to set diseases, as well as per capita or bed-linked fees, it said in the statement.

RISING PRICES

China has been cracking down on high drug prices, looking to expand the role of private insurers and reforming funding structures for hospitals amid a broader drive to trim a healthcare bill expected to hit US$1 trillion by 2020.

The move to diversify payment channels would help “regulate healthcare service behavior and control the irrational rise of costs,” and support China’s state health insurance schemes, the ministry said, adding that reforms to medical insurance payments systems should cover all medical institutions and services by 2020.

OUT OF POCKET

Current payment and health insurance structures fell short of what was needed, reflecting the fact that many families still struggle with healthcare costs and have to pay heavily out of their own pocket for more serious diseases, it said.

Most countries have a number of methods by which healthcare payments are established and agreed between the state and hospitals, each with various advantages and weaknesses for the state, private insurance firms and patients.

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