In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 1/3

Following the same logic as the title of this post, we should also ask, “Does a country exits without its people—not just the wealthy one percent but everyone?”

Studies show that the Mayan civilization (2000 BC – 900 AD) all but vanished overnight because the people walked away into the rainforest and stopped cooperating with the system of government and business that existed.

For this reason alone, every government owes its citizens a form of universal health care to help improve the quality of life, because a government cannot exist with public support.

In fact, every government has a responsibility to its citizens and that goes beyond just maintaining laws, an education system, police, fire-fighting services and a military to defend the country.

The least we should expect from our government is a basic universal health care system that rewards contributing citizens that live healthy lifestyles with more coverage at a lower cost.

On the other hand, citizens that live unhealthy lifestyles should pay more for anything beyond basic health care. When I say basic health care, I mean an annual checkup and treatment for health challenges that are not related to poor lifestyle choices. I do not think that working taxpayers should pay for the health care of a person that made poor lifestyle choices.

However, most universal health care plans do just that–take care of all citizens regardless of individual lifestyle choices.

At the end of 2008, China’s government published its reform plan clarifying government’s responsibility by saying that it would play a dominant role in providing public health and basic medical service. It declared “Both central and local governments should increase health funding. The percentage of government’s input in total health expenditure should be increased gradually so that the financial burden of individuals can be reduced,” The plan listed public health, rural areas, city community health services and basic medical insurance as four key areas for government investment. It also promised to tighten government control over medical fees in public hospitals and to set up a “basic medicine system” to quell public complaints of rising drug costs.

The plan was passed by the Chinese Cabinet in January 2009. The long-awaited medical reform plan promised to spend 850 billion Yuan by 2011 to provide universal medical service and that measures would be taken to provide basic medical security to all Chinese

For China, I found this from CNN, “Where in the world can you get universal health care?” dated June 29, 2012:

China announced an overhaul of its health system in 2009 to bring safe, affordable basic health services to all residents — a tall order for a country containing 1.3 billion people.

The government committed about $126 billion to reform the quality and efficiency of its health care, and ensure affordable and quality medication.

But the issue of equity in health care persists. “There are still significant disparities in health status between regions, urban and rural areas, and among population groups,” according to the WHO.

China has seen increased life expectancy and reductions in infant deaths, but health observers stated in the WHO report the need to improve delivery of care. Source: says that Obamacare in the US is NOT universal health care coverage and that nearly 50 countries out of almost 200 have attainted universal or near-universal health coverage by 2008.  China was on the list of eight countries mentioned as examples. They were: Brazil, where free health care coverage is recognized as a citizen’s right; Rwanda; Thailand; South Korea; Moldova; Kuwait; Chile, and China.

As far as I know, none of these countries have ever gone bankrupt or have come close to bankruptcy due to this socialist policy. However, they also do not have a history of fighting wars with other nations.

This report from PBS News Hour in April 2011 explains why and how China is dealing with universal health care system for 1.3 billion people. It talks about the pros and cons of establishing reforms in health care in China.

I wonder how long it will take for China to build the infrastructure and adjust for problems in this new system before it is more competent to handle the demand.

For PBS to report on this topic, they had to have approval from the CCP in Beijing. I’m sure that China’s critics will only focus on the problems without considering or mentioning that instant gratification is unrealistic and it takes time to build the infrastructure for a new system of any kind.

Continued on October 29, 2012, In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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One Response to In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 1/3

  1. […] via In healthcare, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? – Part 1/3 « iLook China. […]

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