A Living Wage Chinese Style

The following is a letter I sent to Hawaii Senators Maizie Hirono and Brian Schatz:

Dear Senators:

I am a Big Island resident who use to live in China as an English teacher. Every time I hear people talk about universal coverage in THIS country I laugh because they always equate universal with socialism or communism.

Here’s what I had in China and why for the longest time I’d repeatedly return to that country. The first four years I worked as an ESL teacher I was paid 2000 yuan a month. That was enough for me to live on provided that I don’t travel too much. Then in 2000 my income increased to 6000 yuan. I’m now able to travel and spend more, pay for rent if I lived off campus, and get Chinese medical insurance. My last three years I was there I got 7000. In other words my income increased as the cost of living got higher and inflation. I was paid well enough that I didn’t need another job. I did all this on a single job. Why can’t that be done in this country? China does not have universal health coverage. It’s optional for employers. Those that do have it either pay it themselves or pay their teachers enough so that they can pay for their own insurance.

Why can’t we do that here in this country?


Jada Rufo



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