China's Healthcare Reform: You Win Some, You Lose Some
Back in 2008, in an effort to control healthcare costs and avoid public backlash, China quadrupled it's healthcare expenditures. Some of their top proprieties included:
- Reducing mother and child mortality rates
- Reducing infectious diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory illnesses
- Getting the population covered by some level of health insurance
- Stemming soaring hospital drug prices
In all these areas, China has done exceptionally well. But there is still a lot that needs to be done. Chronic diseases related to lifestyle choices are on the rise. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes are increasing leading one director in this article to say, "China is beginning to look very much like the U.S."
The reason why there has not been much headway is directly related to the Chinese government not getting involved in people's personal decisions about smoking, drinking and eating. Tie in the fact that the government receives tremendous revenue from selling tobacco that it produces and you can see why they may not be too keen on telling their citizens not to smoke. Now throw in China's pollution problem and you can see they have a way to go.
We are rooting for you, China!