China making improvements

China has pledged to expand medical insurance and build thousands of hospitals and clinics over three years, the first steps in a 10-year plan to repair an ailing health-care system that has fuelled popular discontent.

SHANGHAI – China has pledged to expand medical insurance and build thousands of hospitals and clinics over three years, the first steps in a 10-year plan to repair an ailing health-care system that has fuelled popular discontent.

On Tuesday, the State Council, China’s cabinet, offered details on the $120-billion-plus initial phase of the revamp, which it outlined in January. Among the plans: a construction surge that by 2011 will give every village a medical clinic and every county at least one hospital.

The ruling Communist Party are trumpeting the blueprint with a major public-relations push.

Under the plan, state subsidies for insurance premiums aim to extend at least basic coverage to 90 per cent or more of China’s 1.3 billion people within three years.

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