True or False? Health Care is Cheap and Easy to Get

While a senior health official from Guangzhou, Guangdong Province stated last week that in China is more cheap and accessible than in any other country, Shanghai Daily columnist Wu Jiayin writes why the official’s bold remarks are contradictory to the experience of most people in China.

The columnist dismisses statements made by Zeng Qiyi, deputy director of the Guangdong Health Bureau, that the country’s success in providing health care can be seen through the abundance of community medical centers and the government subsidies received by some hospitals.

For one thing, it’s not unusual for large hospitals to be crowded with people, waiting in long lines for medical treatment all day long.

For another, many hospitals charge high fees. It’s not news that some people receive a bill of several hundred yuan just for treating a common cold.

In Zeng’s view, for treatment of common ailments, citizens ought to turn to community medical centers and save both time and money.

Indeed, this would have been a solution if all community medical centers provided standard services.

Zeng’s statements come a month after the health ministry announced a plan to reform the country’s health care to provide universal coverage by 2020. The plan is expected to be revealed within the coming months.

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