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Lessons from the China Health Development Forum

BritCham / CBBC
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The China Health Development Forum, which looked at how to improve China’s universal health insurance system, was held in Beijing on 16 April 2015. The event was sponsored by the British Embassy's Strategic Prosperity Fund (SPF) and co-organised with the National Health and Development Research Centre (NHDRC), which is under the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).
The event was attended by Anna Zhao, CBBC's sector lead for healthcare, and John Williams (International SOS), a co-chair of the Chamber/CBBC's Healthcare Forum. The following points stood out.
Financing is currently a major barrier to healthcare reform, as pointed out by most of the Chinese officials who spoke. Without reasonable and sufficient financing from the government, the public hospitals will still operate on a for-profit model. Neither the government nor commercial health insurance schemes have sufficient bargaining power to regulate hospital behaviour. 
Integrating the three current government health insurance schemes (三网合一) is very challenging. It could be realised but only in the long term, say by 2040. Again, the different financing mechanisms of each scheme present a major barrier to their integration. The three schemes are:
  • Basic Medical Insurance Scheme (BMIS) for urban employees;
  • Medical Insurance Scheme for urban residents;
  • New Cooperative Medical Scheme (CMS) for the rural population.
The operation and management of the schemes needs to be improved at different levels, including national, provincial and municipal, and must also comprise professional training for personnel.
The necessity of partnerships between the Government and commercial insurance providers is universally recognised. The private sector is ready to contribute and help improve the practice of the public sector.
The day's programme, including the list of speakers and topics, is attached below.
For more information, please contact CBBC's sector lead for healthcare and life sciences, Anna Zhao: anna.zhao@cbbc.org.cn.
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