Healthier people, healthier economy

Patching up the Chinese healthcare system could have ramifications across the entire economy.

Once upon a time, when China was unambiguously a communist country, its healthcare system was a success. In the three decades following the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949, the average lifespan nearly doubled and infant mortality went down five-fold. Good healthcare provisions no doubt played a major part.

Then came the market reforms of the early-1980s and the system fell apart. Provision of healthcare fell behind the need to boost GDP and eventually the central government withdrew funding,...

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