China will push patients to seek medical treatment locally in a bid to overhaul a over-burdened healthcare system where wide gaps between urban and rural care often mean people travel hundreds of miles to seek help in cities. The country is aiming that by 2017 all patients with serious illnesses will receive treatment within their own county, the State Council said in a statement laying out various ways to improve access and lower healthcare fees. China’s healthcare reform drive could reduce steep costs for its citizens, who often save up large “rainy day” funds in case a family member falls ill.
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China tells patients to go local to cut costs, improve access