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World

Healthcare costs push China's sick into poverty

Opening sequence

Opening sequence

World

Healthcare costs push China's sick into poverty

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COMING UP:Healthcare costs push China's sick into poverty

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Transcript

00:00:02
>> With healthcare costs on the rise in China, getting sick can mean losing it all. Han Wei has spent about $200,000 on his son's medical care. Six year old Su Chung is battling leukemia in a Beijing hospital. Han says he still needs treatment likely to cost tens of thousands of dollars that he doesn't have.
00:00:22
>> After my son got sick, we sold almost everything, including the furniture. Everything's gone.>> Nearly half of Chinese families under the poverty line today got there because of illness. Medical care costs are being pushed up by rising incomes in the middle class. But that's no good for those at the bottom, who are being frozen out.
00:00:41
Reuters Adam Jordan says desperate times are leading to desperate measures.>> What we're seeing now is people turning to new channels including things like online platforms, P2P, these sort of loan sharks, as well as bigger banks are going into the area. As well as things like online crowdfunding where people go on, they post an illness and they hope that they will be able to attract, through sympathy, other people to help donate money to fund care.
00:01:06
>> While public health insurance reaches nearly all of China's people, its coverage is basic. Patients often end up footing around half the bill and that's leading to growing debt.>> What this is creating is a kind of new debt market where, amid a sort of a wider debt binge in China, where consumers are increasingly borrowing different funding for housing or cars, they're now starting to borrow also for healthcare, only adding to the sort of wider debt burden and debt mountain that we're seeing today.
00:01:32
>> Beijing is trying to bring down the price of drugs and provide more coverage for major illnesses. But the costs just keep going up, with some experts estimating patients out of pocket spending to quadruple by 2025.