Future for Healthcare in China

China has faced many challenges in reforming and developing their country’s healthcare system. The population is aging and there is a surge in non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The number of people over 65 in China is now at 140 million and is expected to increase to 230 million by 2030. These factors will continue to lead to rising healthcare costs.

A two year study conducted by the World Bank Group www.worldbank.org, the World Health Organization www.who.int, the Ministry of Finance http://english.gov.cn, the National Health and Family Planning Commission http://en.nhfpc.gov.cn, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China http://English.gov.cn, makes the case to shift from the current hospital-centric model to a model that would provide people-centered integrated healthcare.

The study titled “Deepening Health Reform in China, Building High-Quality and Value-Based Service Delivery,” reports that China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty in the last three decades and achieved successes in health.

Since the launch of the 2009 health reforms, China has substantially:

  • Increased investment to expand the health infrastructure
  • Strengthened the primary-care system
  • Achieved near universal health insurance coverage
  • Reduced the share of out-of-pocket expenses
  • Promoted equal access to basic public health services
  • Deepened public hospital reform
  • Improved availability, equity, and affordability of health services
  • Reduced child and maternal mortality and rates for infectious diseases


The study proposes practical steps towards a value-based integrated service model for healthcare financing and delivery. The report makes eight recommendations for China to:

  • Create a new model of  people-centered quality integrated healthcare
  • Improve healthcare quality
  • Empower patients with knowledge and understanding of health services
  • Reform public hospitals to focus on complicated cases
  • Change incentives for providers
  • Boost the status of the health workforce especially primary-care providers
  • Allow qualified private health providers to deliver cost effective services
  • Prioritize public investments


“We look forward to carefully studying and applying the report’s findings, so it will help us push ahead on health reform”, said Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council of China.

Go to www.worldbank.org or email Anu Palan apalan@worldbank.org for information on the study.

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