A question on medical insurance came into the limelight at Premier Li Keqiang’s news conference on March 16, as it was selected through an online poll jointly conducted by China Daily and online news portal Toutiao.com.
The poll－“I have a question for the Premier”－involved more than 24 million netizens as of March 16, and it called on each respondent to choose three out of 10 questions connected with public livelihood.
“At the top of the list was ‘how to achieve national portability of medical insurance plans’, which received 10 million votes from netizens,” China Daily reporter Wu Jiao told the Premier at the news conference.
Portability refers to allowing insurance plan subscribers to keep their plan if they relocate or to be covered if healthcare is needed while away from home.
Other topics on the poll list included narrowing the disparity in pensions, strengthening food quality and security, and speeding up construction of affordable public housing.
“Mr Premier, is there a timetable for us to achieve national portability of medical insurance?” Wu asked.
Li began his reply by saying: “I want to first thank you for conducting the survey, asking the people what the top concerns are in their daily lives. That will certainly help the government do its job better.”
He went on to say that the government “is resolved” to achieve national portability of health insurance plans “at a faster pace” and that provincial-level portability will be achieved within the year.
Qi Shuyu, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said “it is a fresh idea” for influential Chinese media to solicit and deliver public opinions via the Internet and new media platforms.
As more than half of China’s population surfs the Web, delivering the 10 topics of greatest concern contributes to briefing the top policymakers, Qi added.
In the past three years, the central government’s presence has gathered momentum on social networks, boosting policy transparency and extending its reach to all mainstream information and networking outlets.
As of March 16, the State Council’s micro blog had more than 12,500 postings and attracted about 13.4 million followers.