Healthy cut in cost of medicine

Updated: 2012-03-13 07:32

By Jiang Xueqing and Yang Wanli (China Daily)

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Price proposals

In addition to boosting investment, Health Minister Chen Zhu suggested that the government help hospitals by enabling them to increase charges for medical treatment.

Experts say the labor involved in medical services has been undervalued in China for a long time. IZhenjiang, for instance, prices for treatments have remained unchanged since 2005. Yet, in the past six years, the consumer price index a major indicator of inflation has climbed sharply.

Healthy cut in cost of medicine

The Capital Institute of Pediatrics is one of the busiest hospitals in Beijing. [Wang Jing / China Daily]

After much debate, the city's health bureau submitted a plan to the provincial government this year that aims to incrementally raise the costs of many services, including day care and surgery. If approved, the cost of first-class nursing at top hospitals will eventually rise from the current 10 yuan a day to 45 yuan.

Whether such a plan is acceptable for residents remains to be seen.

Last year, the State Council told community health centers, health stations and town clinics to ask for a general treatment fee of 10 yuan instead of charging separately for registration and injections. However, this pushed up the cost, resulting in opposition from patients in Zhenjiang when it was introduced in July.

To solve the problem, the city requested the medical insurance office cover 90 percent of the fee.