A Brief Overview of the Healthcare System in China

China has the world’s largest population. As a developing country undergoing dramatic changes in the past few decades healthcare is one sector that is vastly under developed and offer plenty of potential for growth. Healthcare is especially interesting since millions of rural people move into large urban cities and their lifestyles change. So in this post lets take a brief look at China’s healthcare system.

China’s healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP is much lower than most OECD countries as shown in the chart below:

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China vs World Heathcare Exp as a percent of GDP

Source: China: Themes and Strategy for 2014, Deutsche Bank

Brazil spends more than China on healthcare. But the U.S. spends the most among OECD countries. The US ratio of healthcare expenditure to  GDP is more than three times that China’s. Though the U.S. population is much smaller than China’s, US  healthcare expenditure is so high because of waste, regulations and other factors.

The following are some of the key points from the Deutsche Bank research report:

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Number of doctors by country


Healthcare ownersip by country

In the U.S. the healthcare industry is dominated by private players with the state basically regulating the market.The 15% public ownership shown is due to Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, etc. which are all publicly funded.

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