Hu urges enhancement of social security

Updated: 2012-03-05 07:44

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - President Hu Jintao vowed on Sunday to continuously enhance social security and improve people's well-being.

He made the remarks while attending a group meeting with political advisers from the fields of health and social security at the ongoing annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee.

"The government has to play a dominant role in trying to address key issues directly concerning public interests and to better introduce and guide social forces," Hu said.

He Wei, a CPPCC member and director of the private Shenyang-based He Eye Hospital, who made a speech at the conference, told China Daily that he was touched by Hu's commitment to improve people's lives, particularly their medical care.

"He listened carefully all through my lecture and we had eye contact from time to time," said He, who was the only CPPCC member representing private hospitals to make a speech at the conference.

Hu called for deepening medical reforms in the country, to realize affordable and universal healthcare for all.

To date, about 95 percent of Chinese people are covered by some form of health insurance policies, official statistics showed.

Hu also stressed the importance of setting up a healthcare system that fits into the practical situation of the country and taps better into private capital.

According to He, the central government has in recent years issued a series of policies and measures encouraging private investment into the medical market. But "they are still facing operating difficulties, including a high threshold of admittance, government research fund application, and tax exemption," He said.

In response, Hu said the development of private hospitals would be supported and regulated better under the reforms.

Hu urged health administrations to attach more importance to building the capacity of medical workers, particularly at grassroots-level medical institutions, in addition to constructing medical facilities.

Regarding social security, he said the country should speed up the building of a system to cover people in rural and urban areas in aspects such as insurance programs, social welfare, and old age care.

Also on Sunday, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang made remarks on further advancing medical reform while meeting CPPCC members.

Li asked CPPCC members to contribute to transforming working methods in key areas concerning people's interests, such as healthcare, employment, social security, and education.

"These would help fuel coordinated and sustainable development of both the country's economy and society," he noted.

At the meeting with CPPCC members from Hong Kong and Macao on Sunday, Vice-President Xi Jinping called on the administrations of the two special administrative regions to maintain stability and make further progress by enhancing their international competitiveness.