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May 11, 2015

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China to increase health care subsidies by 19%

China is to increase health care subsidies by 19 percent this year as part of efforts to deepen social reforms and strengthen safety nets, the government said at the weekend.

Government health care subsidies for qualified urban and rural residents will be raised to 380 yuan (US$61.22), from 320 yuan last year, according to a statement on the website of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Measures will also be taken to reduce the cost of drugs and medical checks, reform the salaries of health care workers and increase the availability of doctors in rural areas, the statement said.

China’s scarcity of doctors has led to bottlenecks at hospitals, and doctors sometimes accept bribes from frustrated patients who want to receive better medical attention.

Economists say it is crucial for China to improve the quality of its health care if it wishes to reshape its economy and boost domestic consumption.

They say a stronger safety net will encourage Chinese to spend more and save less.


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