A Dream Yet to Come True: Disparity of Healthcare Access in China

Irene J. Su, RN, MSN


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2007;7(3) 

In This Article


Healthcare delivery has undergone drastic changes in China over the last 3 decades. Universal health coverage ended with the introduction of market economy. Currently, China has 4 insurance plans:

  • Government employee health insurance,

  • Labor health insurance,

  • Rural cooperative medical system, and

  • Private insurance.

However, healthcare is seriously deficient, and the majority of the population is not covered by any insurance plan. Disparity of healthcare access continues to cause problems and social unrest. The uninsured and vulnerable citizens include:

  • Residents of the rural areas,

  • Migrant workers in the city, and

  • Employees of many private enterprises.

Substantial cuts in government funding have forced healthcare facilities across the country to generate revenues to sustain daily operation, which, among other factors, contributes to the rising cost of healthcare delivery. Until a cohesive framework is developed, affordable and accessible care in China remains but a dream.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.