What kind of a health care system do China’s 1.3 billion turn to when ill, injured, or in need of care? This article provides a brief overview of how China’s health system has transformed alongside China’s society and economy since the Mao era, including how the current system is financed, organized, regulated, and being reformed. It first provides a brief description of the Mao-era health system and China’s demographic and epidemiologic transitions. Then it gives an overview of China’s contemporary health care system, including the dramatic expansion of health insurance over the last eight years and the progress of national health system reforms initiated in 2009.
A condensed and revised version of this paper is published in The Milken Institute Review 2012 second quarter: 16-27.