A photo of empty hospital beds

US-China Forum 2021: Addressing Inequality and Promoting Social Welfare

Health, Mental Health, and Disability

Health, Mental Health, and Disability

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

6:00-8:30pm CST

Both the US and China have made significant changes to their health systems in recent years. In the US, access to health care is highly variable, with most working-age adults receiving health insurance through their employers and government support for health care largely targeted toward the poor (through Medicaid, a means-tested program) and the elderly (through Medicare, a universal program). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed under the Obama administration sought to expand access to health care through an expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies to help cover costs for lower-income people not eligible for Medicaid, among other provisions.  While it expanded coverage significantly, the ACA has fallen far short of universal coverage and has been subject to ongoing political and legal challenges. China has been aggressively pursuing policies to provide universal coverage through the expansion of medical insurance, establishing a primary health care service and a national system for access to medication, reforming public hospitals, and equalizing access in rural and urban areas. Over 95 percent of the Chinese population now has health insurance coverage. But challenges remain in both countries with regard to access, quality, equity, and comprehensiveness. This panel will explore some of the approaches, provisions, successes, and challenges in each country with regard to addressing the populations’ health, mental health, and disability needs and supports.