In an article published today, the Shanghai Star shed light on the adverse affects of China’s new healthcare system.
Parents who have sick children often can’t afford to pay their medical bills and may be encouraged to abandon the child, like farmer Zeng Shaotang from the south of China. Zeng has spent all his money and what he could get of loans to pay for his 1-year old child’s treatment for pnemonia, a congenital heart disease and septicemia.
According to Bejing-based ChinaCare healthcare consulting group, fewer than 25 percent of Chinese have any kind of health insurance. And without coverage, costly medical treatment can quickly consume a working family’s entire savings.
China’s new healthcare system leaves many families out in the cold, putting the burden of payment on individuals rather than the government. And private insurance has limits on care.
One hope is a non-profit fund created in 1996 aimed at helping children by paying half their medical bills. Participation costs 40 yuan (US$4.80) per year.
The fund is in trouble, though, and may have to increase its fees as it faces a deficit.