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China Daily Website

Kids need medical insurance

Updated: 2014-02-11 08:17
( China Daily)

The first safe haven for abandoned children in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, received 33 infants, who are either ill or disabled, within 10 days of its launch. Accordingly a senior charity worker has been quoted as saying that ill or disabled infants account for a very high percentage of the abandoned children.

Since serious illness is the leading reason for children to be abandoned, the State should expedite the introduction of critical illness insurance for children, says a commentary in Beijing News.

Of course, abandoning children with critical illnesses or disabilities is both immoral and illegal and parents should be pulled up for doing so. But the fact is, no parent will give up his/her child unless he/she is compelled by circumstances to do so. Many, if not most, of the parents just cannot afford their medical treatment.

In Guangdong and many other provinces, medical insurance still does not cover critical illnesses, and paying for the treatment of such illnesses is beyond the means of ordinary wage earners. The lack of medical insurance for critical diseases has forced not only parents to abandon their critically ill or disabled children, but also led to other tragedies.

China is in the process of reforming its medical sector and introducing a critical illness insurance program. But the process, some say, is far too slow.

So, is it possible to introduce such insurance for at least children in the short term? Many developed countries with good welfare systems offer almost full insurance cover for children.

Some people may argue that critical illness insurance will come at the cost of taxpayers' money, and question the wisdom of such a move. But the State is responsible for helping vulnerable people. Besides, taxpayers' money will be used even if there is no insurance cover for children with critical illnesses. Aren't safe havens for abandoned children built and run on taxpayers' money? Therefore, the government could spend taxpayers' money in a better way if it introduces medical insurance for critically ill and disabled children.