Why Don't the Chinese Learn from Singapore?
By Bryan Caplan
I can vaguely understand why Western democracies won’t deign to emulate Singapore’s miraculously cheap and effective health care system. But when the Chinese ignore Singapore and copy Western socialized medicine, I can only roll my eyes in disgust:
China has unveiled an ambitious plan to achieve universal health care.
The plan, released for public debate last week, lays out in broad
strokes plans to introduce greater health-care funding and control
Out-of-pocket payments constituted more than 60% of health spending
at the end of the 1990s in China, a significantly larger percentage
than in developed countries, according to the World Health Organization.
According to the plan, all revenue raised by public hospitals will
have to be funneled to state coffers. The government aims to set
pricing standards for medical services, according to the plan,
reflecting broad nationalization of the health-care system.
If I didn’t know anything else, I’d be tempted to see this as an atavistic “back to Mao” movement. But alas, it’s Western advisors who are to blame:
The draft proposal was crafted in a year-long process of consultations
with groups such as the World Health Organization, the World Bank,
management consultancy McKinsey & Co. and a few Chinese
university-based public health experts.
Admittedly, if the goal of the plan is to maintain the popularity of the Communst Party rather than deliver low-cost quality health care, the foreign advisors may have it right. After all their crimes against humanity, the Chinese Communists almost desperately need to “show that they care.”