Beijing further increases Covid-19 funding – ministry




The Manila Times

Foreign Business: China

CHINA’S Ministry of Finance will further strengthen management of specialized funds targeting the prevention and control of Covid-19, including increasing support for rural areas and medical workers, establishing a “green channel” for medical supply procurement along with other measures, the ministry said in a notice on January 16. Increased funding for epidemic control and prevention will be deployed, with a focus on supporting patient treatment, financial aid for medical staff, vaccines and enhancing medical capacity. The notice stressed the importance of investing more in medical resources in rural areas and in county-level medical facilities for treating severe and infectious diseases. Local financial authorities need to fully consider the payment needs for grassroots regions, and increase transfer payments to counties and regions with financial difficulties. The central government will deploy funds targeting patient treatment, temporary work subsidies for medical staff, and subsidies for vaccines, while arranging financial aid for local governments to enhance the capacity of critical care. The ministry also supports local governments to use government bonds or to issue special bonds for constructing qualified projects in the medical field, while fully preparing for critical treatment and meeting the local demand for medical treatment. Responsible financial departments at all levels should improve the efficiency of financial funds and optimize the payment process, while establishing and improving a “green channel” for delivering epidemic prevention and medical supplies with other urgent resources for government procurement, read the notice. For instance, responsible authorities should allocate subsidy funds for hospitals within the deadline, and make overdue payments as soon as possible to ensure the smooth operation of hospitals. The notice also vowed to strengthen coordination among relevant departments to ensure the successful implementation of the supportive measures, while ramping up efforts to regulate the actual use and allocation of funds. Four Chinese government agencies announced measures to further optimize the medical insurance coverage for Covid-19 patients on January 7, with a major focus on fully reimbursing hospitalization expenses. This article was first published in the Global Times on Jan. 17, 2023. The Global Times is an English-language Chinese tabloid under the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.