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China poverty reduction policy (PRP) addresses two important elements: the targeted poverty reduction (TPA) project since 2015 in line with social assistance policy as national policy; and reducing inequality in health services utilization by making provision of medical financial assistance (MFA). Therefore, this study aims to assess the effects of the PRP in health services utilization (both inpatient and outpatient services) among the central and western rural poor of China.
The study conducted household survey and applied propensity score matching (PSM) method to assess the effects of the PRP on health services utilization among the rural poor of Central and Western China. A sensitivity test was also performed on the PSM results to test their robustness.
Key findings showed 17.6% of respondents were the beneficial of PRP. The average treatment effects on the treated (ATT) of the PRP on the inpatient visits within one year was found significantly positive (P = 0.026).
There has been relationship between PRP with medical financial assistance and reduction of inequality in health services utilization by the poorer, in particular to accessing the inpatient services from the county or township hospitals of China. Policy makers should pay attention for making provision of improving responsiveness of supply, when subsidizing on the demand side.