A view from International Health Economics Association (iHEA) Congress in Basel, Switzerland

2019 World Congress on Health Economics
International Health Economics Association (iHEA)
July 2019, Basel, Switzerland

At the 2019 iHEA Congress in Basel, Professor Winnie Yip chaired a pre-Congress session titled, “The Tenth Anniversary of China’s Health Care Reform: Global Lessons for Universal Health Coverage,” featuring presentations from leading health economists in China as well as reflections from an international panel. The pre-congress session highlighted current policy issues such as the growth of private providers, the persistence of catastrophic health expenditure, and the opportunities of strategic purchasing within China’s public health insurance schemes. The session, attended by 40 congress participants, raised awareness about China’s reforms for economists from other countries, while also giving a format for Chinese researchers to reach an international audience. Professor Yip, Professor of the Practice of Global Health Policy and Economics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is President-Elect of iHEA.

Watch the proceedings here:


In April 2009, China launched a huge and complex healthcare reform with the goal to provide all its citizens with access to equitable and quality basic health care by 2020. The initial phase of the reform focused on health insurance expansion and infrastructure building. The second phase turned its attention to reforming the healthcare delivery system. Ten years after the reform, much progress has been achieved but significant challenges remain, including the changing needs of an ageing population and an increase in the non-communicable disease burden. The primary objectives of this pre congress session are to: 1) empirically examine the achievements and challenges of the reform; 2) analyze the underlying causes and 3) draw global lessons.


Introduction (20 mins): Overview of China’s Ten Years of Health Reform
Winnie Yip, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health


Session 1 (55 mins): Achievements, Gaps and Challenges

  1. Trends in access to health services, financial protection and satisfaction: Has China’s healthcare reform achieved its goals? Hongqiao Fu, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Health Science Center, Peking University
  2. Decomposition of health expenditure growth before and after the reform: What are the main cost drivers of China’s healthcare system? Tiemin Zhai, Associate Professor, China National Health Development Research Center
  3. Evolution of China’s health insurance system: Coverage in population, service, expenditure and impacts. Xiaoyan Lei, Professor, National School of Development, Peking University

Session 2 (55 mins): Frontiers in Health Services Delivery Reform and Their Impacts

  1. Emerging models of integrated delivery systems in China: Progress and challenges. Yanchun Zhang, China National Health Development Research Center
  2. Trends in hospital care use for cardiovascular diseases following the implementation of major healthcare reforms in China: an 8-year follow-up of 0.5 million adults in the China Kadoorie Biobank, DPhil Candidate, Department of Population Health, University of Oxford
  3. The growth of the private sector and its effects on health care cost: An empirical analysis of 1.2 million inpatients. Jay Pan, Professor, School of Public Health, West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University

Session 3 (30 mins): Ageing Population and System Response

  1. Long term care insurance in China: Results from pilots. Min Hu, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Fudan University
  2. Early life circumstances and healthy aging in China: Past, present and future. Xi Chen, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Yale University

Session 4 (50 mins): Reflections on China’s Experience and Lessons from and for Other Asian Countries

Panelists will provide reflections on China’s experience, discuss implications for and draw insights from other Asian countries, and engage with session participants. There will be particular focus on India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Peter Berman, PhD
Director, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Canada
Adjunct Professor, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Gordon Liu, PhD
Professor of Economics
National School of Development, Peking University

Jui-fen Rachel Lu, PhD
Professor, Department of Health Care Management & Graduate Institute of Business and Management
Chang Gung University, Taiwan

Ajay Tandon, PhD
Lead Economist
The World Bank Group

Hong Wang, PhD
Senior Program Officer, Health Economics, Financing & System, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Affiliate Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington