Recently implemented Chinese health insurance schemes have failed to achieve a Chinese health care system that is family-oriented, family-based, family-friendly, or even financially sustainable. With this diagnosis in hand, the authors argue that a financially and morally sustainable Chinese health care system should have as its core family health savings accounts supplemented by appropriate health insurance plans. This essay’s arguments are set in the context of Confucian moral commitments that still shape the background culture of contemporary China.
This essay illustrates what the Chinese family-based and harmony-oriented model of medical decision making is like as well as how it differs from the modern Western individual-based and autonomy-oriented model in health care practice. The essay discloses the roots of the Chinese model in the Confucian account of the family and the Confucian view of harmony. By responding to a series of questions posed to the Chinese model by modern Western scholars in terms of the basic individualist concerns and values (...) embedded in the modern Western model, we conclude that the Chinese people have justifiable reasons to continue to apply the Chinese model to their contemporary health care and medical practice. (shrink)