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Comparison of health care financing schemes before and after market reforms in China’s urban areas

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The health financing schemes is the foundation for the nation’s health care system, and the health insurance is a main one of some options for financing health care. This article compares two health care financing schemes in urban areas before and after the health reform, and targets at the impacts facing coverage groups, the financing methods, decision-making power or financial management (i.e. the distribution of responsibility and rights between the central government and local governments), payment arrangement and cost containment of health care financing mechanisms. Prior to reform, the equal access and universal coverage of health care services were implemented through the employment-based health insurance in a state-controlled economy with guaranteed full employment and central control in general. The decentralization reforms of fiscal system and tax sharing reforms disrupts the past economic foundation, the rebuilding health insurance system which still benefits the employed bring the limited coverage. The next trend is to make transition from health insurance covering only part of the employed population to what are in effect national health services covering the whole population in urban areas.


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