The Link Between Health Costs and National Savings Rates

From New York Times:

Guo Yonggang from Xi’an in western China suffered serious spinal injuries in an accident while driving an agricultural vehicle last year.

His impoverished family scraped together 30,000 yuan, or $4,400, for emergency treatment but cannot afford the additional 70,000 yuan for the surgery that might save the 20-year-old from permanent paralysis.

Stories like Mr. Guo’s, which was reported by state media, help explain the high savings rates that are one facet of the imbalances plaguing the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and Japan.

Households squirrel money away because China is too big and still too poor to provide comprehensive public services. People have to fork out for hefty school fees. They know they will get at best a flimsy pension. And, if they are unlucky, they could face catastrophic medical bills.

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