(Yicai Global) Jan. 12 -- China, which has offered free Covid-19 vaccinations to all its 1.4 billion citizens, will be dipping into its CNY3 trillion (USD464.4 billion) national medical insurance fund to cover the costs of the jab, state broadcaster CCTV said today.
Once the novel coronavirus vaccine becomes available, the charges for the vaccine and the innoculation will be borne by the existing funds in the medical insurance fund and the government, Li Tao, deputy director of the country’s National Healthcare Security Administration, said on Jan. 9. Individuals will not bear the cost, and the use of the fund will not impact their access to medical treatment, he added.
China’s medical insurance kitty runs deep. It currently has a balance of CNY3 trillion (USD464.1 billion). Last year the fund received CNY270 billion (USD417.7 million), a 10 percent drop from 2019 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment, the NHSA said.
The NHSA used the monies to provide free treatment for all Covid-19 patients last year. It also spent it on bulk purchases of medical drugs and consumables, selecting drugs eligible for purchase on the medical insurance scheme and implementing a payment method reform, the NHSA said.
In the long run, free vaccinations for everyone will quickly establish an immune barrier, which can help restore healthy economic and social development, thereby promoting the long-term and sustainable operation of the medical insurance fund, the NHSA said.
However, there is some controversy about the fairness of the scheme as half of medical insurance contributions are made by the six economically advanced provinces on the east coast.
Editor: Kim Taylor