Guo, T.J.; Tao, C.H., and Wang, Y.X., 2020. Impacts of public medical services in China on benefit incidence and income distribution: Micro evidences based on the household equivalent scale. In: Guido Aldana, P.A. and Kantamaneni, K. (eds.), Advances in Water Resources, Coastal Management, and Marine Science Technology. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 104, pp. 687–694. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Public medical services aim to address income inequality and indirectly redistribute income. Whether public medical services can eliminate health inequality and poverty resulting from disease depends on how residents benefit from them. Using the equivalent scale measurement along with the Heckman sample selection model, we reanalyzed benefit incidence and income distribution effects of public medical services in China. The results show that the health inequality problem in China remains severe, and there are significant differences among different income groups in health status, tendency to seek health care, and hospitalization habits. Medical costs incurred in the middle-lower income group are still burdensome, the uneven distribution of medical service costs in China warrants mitigation. Although public medical services have narrowed the income gap, the unfair cost-sharing weakens the income distribution effect of public medical services. Our results indicate that the Chinese government should continue to increase inputs to basic medical institutions, strengthen policy support for the middle-lower income group, raise funding and medical insurance for both urban and rural residents, alleviate the medical cost burden to residents, restrain over-medicalization, and enhance the efficiency of public medical services.