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Submitted by Patricio V Marquez on
The evidence provided by recent assessments highlight the significant expansion of health insurance coverage in China over the last decade. As a result, China has now one of the world's largest health insurance systems, including government-run basic health insurance and commercial health insurance. In spite of this progress, some assessments indicate that even for households with coverage, there are considerable out-of-pocket medical expenses, particularly for households with inpatient treatments and/or chronic diseases that require continuous care outside a health facility. Such observations clearly suggest that infectious disease epidemics have a potential to inflict a heavy toll on individual and families due to gaps in health insurance coverage, and this in turn reinforces the need for further improving the health insurance system to strengthen financial protection (a key social goal in a health system) to minimize the impoverishment effects of disease. On compensation, there is a long history of compensation for animal disease control (documented since 1866). This measure encourage early reporting of disease outbreak and culling orders, and reimbursement for legitimate private property destroyed by the State for the public good is justified. Direct losses are the ones compensated in whole or in part, for example, birds destroyed, or disinfection/disposal where practical. The main criteria that has been followed by international organizations and governments is to compensate the appropriate beneficiaries an appropriate amount, with only a short interval between reporting, culling and payment. To do so effectively, considerable advance preparation is required, including: (i) Legislation that spells out the rights and responsibilities of individuals and various State actors in animal disease control; (ii) A broader disease control strategy in place; (iii) Prior agreement among stakeholders on the who, when, how and how much of compensation; and (iv) Resources for implementation that are immediately available for response. In some countries indirect losses off farm (e.g., lost input sales, lost tourism) are or can be insured against where risks are well-known.