According to an article in China Outlook, much of the Chinese government would be ecstatic to discuss the success of the New Cooperative Medical Insurance Scheme (NCMS). This health insurance plan is aimed to cover the majority of the rural Chinese, and was launched nearly a decade ago. The article
sites cites that nearly 99%, or 800 million individuals, are now covered by the plan. So why would anyone be dissatisfied with what seems to be an affordable universal health care plan?
The article goes on to say that health care costs have risen and continue to do so. [We read about the quality of the service in Country Driving.] It remains unaffordable to the rural people of China. The structure of the NCMS, upon investigation, is seriously flawed in regards to the reimbursement rates. The average officially claimed reimbursement rate for inpatient covered under NCMS is only 55%, meaning that the rural farmers are having to pay nearly half of all medical costs out of pocket.
The steep costs even lead a 47-year-old farmer to amputate his right leg because he couldn’t afford the medical bill. However, this wasn’t even the first incident to occur that is related to affordable health care. The article further states that in early December, a group of elderly people in a rural village committed suicide because they felt they were becoming a monetary burden to their children.