China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission recently released its 2013 statistical bulletin, which shows that the health of Chinese people has been further improved and the allocation of health resources has been further optimized. The growth of incomes of urban and rural residents outpaced the growth of medical expenditures on public and town-level hospitals in China. Health expenditures account for a decreasing share of individual overall expenditures. The newly-added resources are increasingly offered to non-public medical institutions. The capability of rural medical institutions and traditional Chinese medicine services improved significantly. Public healthcare and maternal healthcare achieved fruitful results. Despite all the processes, the reform of healthcare still faces challenges.
Health of Chinese residents further improves
Infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate are important indicators for a nation’s health. Statistics showed that the infant mortality rate went down from 10.3 percent in 2012 to 9.5 percent in 2013. The maternal mortality rate decreased from 24.5 per 100,000 in 2012 to 23.2 per 100,000 in 2013. China’s maternal and infant health conditions led among developing countries.
Allocation of medical resources is further optimized
Licensed doctors (assistants) reached 2.06 per thousand people, licensed nurses reached 2.05 per thousand people and hospital beds reached 4.55 per thousand people in 2013, as compared with 1.94, 1.85 and 4.24 in 2012, respectively. About 28.5 percent of those who offer medical services have bachelor’s degrees or above in 2013, compared with 26.7 percent in 2012.
Medical expenditures account for a decreasing share of people’s overall expenditure
The health financing structure has been constantly improved. China’s total health expenditure jumped 12.6 percent year-on-year in 2013. The government’s general tax revenue contributed to 30.1 percent of the total health expenditure in 2013. Social medical insurance and commercial health insurance contributed to 36 percent as compared with 33.9 percent of resident out-of-pocket spending. The proportion of resident out-of-pocket spending decreased 0.4 percentage points compared with the number in 2012.
Growth of income outpaces growth of medical expenditure
In comparable prices, the outpatient expenditure and inpatient expenditure at public hospitals increased 4.8 percent and 4.6 percent respectively in 2013. The outpatient expenditure and inpatient expenditure at township medical institutions went up 4.4 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively, in 2013. The growth rate was less than the average income growth of 6.9 percent among urban residents and 9.3 percent income growth of rural residents in the same year.
Non-public medical institutions develop
Hospital beds at private hospitals accounted for 15.6 percent of the total hospital beds in China in 2013, as compared with 14 percent in 2012. The growth of the number of private hospital beds (22.5 percent) outpaced the growth of hospital beds at public hospitals (8 percent) in 2013. Inpatients received by private hospitals accounted for 12.1 percent of the overall inpatients in China in 2013, up 1.1 percentage points from 2012.
People benefit from family planning programs
Through innovating the management of migrant population and offering diversified services, more people have been included into the basic family planning programs. About 89 percent of the services offered by pilot projects in 40 cities are free. As much as 7.81 billion yuan ($1.25 billion) was invested in the projects in 2013, up 1.33 billion yuan from the investment in 2012. As many as 7.17 million people benefited from the project.