Good hair, bad politics

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Good hair, bad politics

The author is a social policy team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.
Take one tablet daily. Each tablet costs between 1,800 won ($1.50) and 2,000 won. Women who are pregnant should not take them.If you know what this drug is, you are likely to experience hair loss.
The name of the drug is Propecia, a hair loss treatment. While there is no accurate stat on how many people suffer from hair loss, it is estimated to be about 10 million.Young people in their 20s and 30s are more sensitive about hair loss. In an age when appearance makes people competitive, thick hair is something that you can’t buy.
The idea that a “bald head equals a strong man” is long gone. You might hesitate to seek treatment from dermatologist at first, but you will soon find yourself relying on medication. If you miss the chance, you will get a wig or hair transplant. It is a silent clamor to protect those 0.1 milimeter-thick protein strains.
People suffering from hair loss have taken center stage after ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung promised to apply health care coverage to hair loss treatment. But a good intention doesn’t always make a successful policy, especially when it comes to health insurance.
 It is important to set priorities on what resources will be allocated where. So, “hair care” reminds me off the so-called “Moon Jae-in Care,” which the current president has been pursuing to enhance health care coverage.
Hair loss treatment medications in a drug store in Seoul. [YONHAP]

Hair loss treatment medications in a drug store in Seoul. [YONHAP]

In 2017, Moon proposed a goal to increase health care coverage to 70 percent. He pledged to create a country where all citizens can be assured treatment for any illness.

But the coverage is 65.3 percent as of 2020. It is up from 62.6 percent in 2016, but the goal is still far. New illnesses arise and essential care for all conditions cannot be guaranteed.

Even Moon’s care package is hard to accomplish, so how about Lee’s hair care? There is already a lot of arguments over how realistic it is. The promise might be powerful, but it will also be volatile. Even if Lee is elected, it could be pushed aside by other policies and disappear like a mirage. Or it could turn into a costly plan covering hair transplants that costs at least several million won.

At any rate, people with hair loss are feeling insecure. They are on the stage, but they may end up being hurt again, as some ridicule, “How about covering cosmetic surgery too?” I don’t always welcome a promise that makes your heart flutter. 

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