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Old and new Rural Co-operative Medical Scheme in China: the usefulness of a historical comparative perspective

Bernardi, A and Greenwood, A (2014) Old and new Rural Co-operative Medical Scheme in China: the usefulness of a historical comparative perspective. ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS REVIEW, 20. ISSN 1360-2381

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Abstract

This work compares the health cooperatives fêted in Maoist China in the 1960s to the New Rural Medical Co-operative Scheme (NRCMS) that has been operating in China since 2002. Organizational and ideological similarities between the old and new co-operative medical schemes are described. By mapping continuities and discontinuities in the way the co-operative organizational model has been deployed under different contexts, we argue for the usefulness of blending historical method and organizational analysis as a means of understanding some of the challenges of contemporary Chinese social policies. Using this technique of historical comparison, this work concludes that the NRCMS, despite being different in orientation, is still affected by political influences, and organizational traits, evident within its former incarnation. This acknowledgement, we argue, has important implications for policy and practice today.

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