China's healthcare spending tipped to grow 12.6% to $926.8b in 2020

The government is expected to account for the majority of the spending.

The total healthcare expenditure in China is projected to rise 12.6% to $926.8b (CNY6.44t) in 2020 as the government ramps up spending in the sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Fitch Solutions report.

The government has earmarked an additional $1.44b (CNY9.95b) in funds for public health services and coronavirus epidemic prevention and control. According to the National Health Commission, the funds will be used mainly to prevent and control the spread of pneumonia caused by the virus.

With the expansionary public healthcare funds, expenditure is tipped to grow 12.2% in 2020. Despite growing healthcare privatisation and weak GDP growth forecast, the government is expected to account for the majority of healthcare spending.

Already, funds have been allocated towards improvements in healthcare access for patients diagnosed with the disease, the report noted.

For instance, two hospitals, particularly Huoshen Shan and Leishenshan, were built in Wuhan with a capacity of 1,000 and 1,600 beds, respectively, for treating coronavirus patients. Some public venues were also converted into temporary hospitals.

Beyond this, the government is also expected to continue pursuing its national healthcare objectives, which includes addressing the country's rising chronic disease burden, as well as reforming the delivery of healthcare as per the Healthy China 2030 Plan.

Some key healthcare drivers include the expansion of health insurance cover for the rural population, large-scale development of hospitals and facilities, private sector participation in the healthcare system and support for online medical services.

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