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Inside View: A Visit From Taiwan


It's what The Honorable Dr. Chih-Liang Yaung, the Taiwanese Minister of Health, said after hearing about the many years of thought and effort that went into building the state's biotechnology industry.

It's a story we tell often, and one that never fails to resonate with visitors who are tasked to build a biotech industry or create jobs for their states and nations.

But hearing the observation from the man who sculpted the national healthcare system for Taiwan? Well, that's quite a compliment.

In a lecture delivered Tuesday afternoon here at the Biotech Center, Yaung outlined the components of his country's healthcare system. Based loosely on the United States' Medicare program, the system requires participation and includes: 

  • Preventive services, including annual visits and maternity care
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental
  • Chinese medicine

Nearly all of the Taiwanese people - 99 percent - are covered. At 2 percent, its administrative costs are the lowest in the world.

All this at a cost of about $900 U.S. dollars a year. Now that's original.