[EDITORIAL] Making the Same Mistakes Twice
Lee Hae-chan, member of the Supreme Council of the Millennium Democratic Party, has been rehired as the party's chief policymaker with the responsibility of sorting out collapsing health insurance finances. Along with the newly appointed minister of health and welfare, Kim Won-gil, the team between the ruling party and the administration is now in place. Regardless of the capabilities of Mr. Lee and Mr. Kim, we cannot help but question their selection because they were directly involved in drawing up and promoting medical reform and the merger of two disparate insurance schemes.
Of course, their abilities have been proven in their own right as chief policymakers in the ruling party; also during their opposition days they contributed to drawing up various policies. It is ironic that the very figures who should be held accountable for policy failures are given the responsibility of cleaning up the mess. Mr. Kim was a key figure in pushing for misguided medical reform; Mr. Lee, a former education minister, is personally responsible for the education reform policy, the focus of the loudest criticism of all the current administration's reform efforts.
The ruling party's choices for these appointments appear to express its intention to let those who are responsible for the problems solve them. If it were the case, it would be deemed fortunate. But if it is the expression of a will to repeat President Kim Dae-jung's single-minded drive, it is indeed worrisome. It is questionable whether the general public will support solutions offered by the promoters of failed policies. We should be also wary of their possible attempts to cover up their missteps or rationalize them.
It is doubtful whether President Kim was sincere when he apologized or expressed regrets for the failed education and health insurance policies. What is needed is an examination of the policies, which have produced many problems and sparked the public's ire from square one. It is hard to understand why the president has made appointments that give the appearance of retrying failed policies. The most pressing issues of governance, such as education and medical care, should not be pushed with a spirit of obstinacy. We are concerned whether the president's choice of people will manifest itself again in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.