[LETTERS to the editor]Health care for people, not profitsWhen I read articles on the policy debate over health insurance, I begin to think about what kind of health insurance is good for people. The government is trying to introduce private health insurance and profit-seeking medical institutions.
In the United States, medical expenses account for 14.2 percent of the gross domestic product, but U.S. citizens’ health level ranks at the bottom of member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. I heard that about 16 percent of U.S. citizens, or 45 million people, cannot buy health insurance and therefore cannot receive proper medical treatment. In addition, households of around 2 million people go bankrupt every year because of high health care costs.
Taking the U.S. case into consideration, I think the Korean government should reinforce state-run health insurance. The Korean government should side with people, not market logic.
I acknowledge that private health insurance and profit-seeking medical institutions can enhance the quality of medical services by inducing competition. But in Korea, state-run health insurance should be strengthened first to assure that people are free from a medical cost burden. Thereafter private health insurance policies and profit-seeking medical foundations can be introduced. This measure can resolve conflicts among social classes and tackle the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
by Kim Deok-yong