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Moving towards universal health insurance in China: Performance, issues and lessons from Thailand

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Author Info

  • Li, Cheng
  • Yu, Xuan
  • Butler, James R.G.
  • Yiengprugsawan, Vasoontara
  • Yu, Min

Abstract

China is now in the course of implementing a new round of health system reforms. Universal health insurance coverage through the basic social medical insurance system is high on the reform agenda. This paper examines the performance of China's current social medical insurance system in terms of revenue collection, risk pooling, the benefit package, and provider payment mechanisms based on a literature review and publicly available data. On the basis of critical assessment, the paper attempts to address the issues challenging China as it moves towards universal coverage. Focusing in particular on the reform experience in Thailand as it implemented universal coverage, the following policy implications for further reform in China are articulated, taking into account China's particular circumstances: firstly, the gaps in the benefit package across different schemes should be further reduced; secondly, the prevailing fee-for-service payment system needs to be transformed; thirdly, the primary health care delivery and referral system needs to be strengthened in coordination with the reform of the health insurance system; and fourthly, raising the risk pooling level and integrating fragmented insurance schemes should be long-run objectives of reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 73 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 359-366

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:3:p:359-366

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Related research

Keywords: Health care financing Universal coverage Health insurance China Thailand;

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Cited by:
  1. Annear, Peter Leslie & Ahmed, Shakil & Ros, Chhun Eang & Ir, Por, 2013. "Strengthening institutional and organizational capacity for social health protection of the informal sector in lesser-developed countries: A study of policy barriers and opportunities in Cambodia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 223-231.
  2. Ghislando, S & Manachotphong, W & Perego, VME, 2013. "The impact of Universal Health Coverage on healthcare consumption and risky behaviours: evidence from Thailand," Working Papers 11200, Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School.

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