For two decades, 65-year-old farmer Che Xiuyue had been troubled by osteophytes, bony lumps that grew on her knees, causing her unbearable pain and stiffness.In 2019, unable to stomach the discomfort any longer, she finally had surgery to treat them. But when she received the bill of 10,000 yuan (US$1,569), Che was overcome by a new wave of distress.Though only one-tenth of the original surgery price – thanks to China’s public health care insurance scheme – the charge was nearly equivalent to…

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