China invests 100b yuan in medical aid

BEIJING — China has spent over 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) in the past six years aiding people who can't afford medical services, a senior Ministry of Finance official said on May 21.
The central budget for medical assistance in 2015 stands at 14.1 billion yuan, excluding funds from local treasuries, said Song Qichao, deputy head of the ministry's social security department, at a press conference.
China established a national medical assistance system in 2008, allocating money to help disadvantaged people purchase medical insurance and to subsidize healthcare not included in insurance programs.
Last year, the nation spent 25.4 billion yuan on such subsidies, benefiting 102 million people.
Currently, 63 percent of the funding comes from the central government, while local governments and donations contribute 32 percent and 5 percent respectively, according to Song.
He said social donations should be encouraged and should take up a larger percentage of the funds.
The State Council issued a document last month promising more investment to expand medical assistance to cover more people and help pay more medical expenses.