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China spends trillions on health care improvement

Updated: Apr 29,2016 11:43 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has spent 5.64 trillion yuan ($871 billion) in the reform period since 2009 to improve its healthcare system.

The health budget for 2016 is 1.24 trillion yuan, said the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) on April 28, adding that the average annual growth rate of medical input has surpassed 20 percent over the past seven years.

Healthcare reform is designed toward the ultimate goal of creating a universal health security system, which focuses on equal access to basic public health services for all, the commission said.

The budget is also used to promote reform and upgrade of public hospitals at or above the county level. The central government will grant each county 3 million yuan annually to accomplish the goal, while providing a lump-sum of 20 million yuan to every city, according to the NHFPC.

China is also making efforts to cut the financial burden for poor people. According to a survey by the NHFPC and the State Council’s Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, there were 12.56 million households in poverty directly because of unaffordable medical bills by 2013, accounting for 42.4 percent of the total poor on record.

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