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Program Launched to Extend Medical Insurance
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China's State Council on Wednesday launched a pilot program to ensure that more urban residents are covered by basic medical insurance.

One or two provincial cities will be chosen to test the program, according to the executive meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

All people, including children, who are not covered by the basic medical insurance for urban employees can be insured against illness through this new basic urban residents medical insurance.

The meeting stressed this pilot program will help speed up the development of China's medicare services, a key concern for many people.

The meeting also urged local governments to set reasonable insurance fees and respect people's wills, while requiring them to strengthen the supervision and administration of insurance funds and ensure their safety.

Meanwhile, a draft regulation on the punishment of civil servants was reviewed and ratified in principle at the meeting.

The regulation was passed to require civil servants to practice a clean and frugal working style and faithfully fulfill their obligations.

Participants at the meeting agreed on the need for the law.

The regulation sums up experience gained when punishing civil servants in recent years, prescribes in details the principles, jurisdiction, and procedure and also sets out how to lodge an appeal, according to the meeting.

The regulation will be released by the State Council after further amendments.

(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2007)

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