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Public response to new medical insurance system

Posted April. 18, 2001 13:29,   


Seven out of 10 people think that last year`s medical chaos was triggered by mistakes of the government and that doctors are earning too much compared with their education and work hours.

A recent survey conducted by Professor Song Ho-Keun of Seoul National University, which was commissioned by the Korea Medical Association, showed that 68.8 percent of respondents said that the medical trouble was due to the lack of readiness and errant policy of the government. Also, 26.3 percent of those surveyed replied that it was because of doctors` selfishness, 2.6 percent attributed it to pharmacists` selfishness, and 1.4 percent found fault in the ruling party`s lack of consideration for public opinion.

As for the new medical insurance system that separates the roles of doctors and pharmacists, 49 percent answered that the system is necessary but that the shift wasn`t timely, while 25.7 percent said that it doesn`t fit Korea`s situation. Thus, the majority of Koreans think the new system is not reasonable to implement now. Only 22.3 percent of respondents expressed that the system should be carried forward.

In particular, 42.9 percent replied that the purpose of the new medical system, which was introduced to reduce the abuse of medications and improve medical services, hasn`t been fulfilled at a time when only 21.9 percent of people agreed that its goal has been achieved.

However, it is believed that many people are expecting a long-term effect of the new system as many as 74.2 percent of people said that the abuse of medications would be reduced in the future.

As for the increase in medical charges, 82.9 percent of respondents said that it was inappropriate. Only 23.8 percent of people said that they would accept the price hike if they could get better service.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of those surveyed said that doctors are making too much money compared to their education and work hours. As for specialty of practice, doctors gained the highest score with 77.2 points, compared with 74.4 points for dentists, 72.8 points for herbal doctors, 69.8 points for lawyers and 64 points for pharmacists.

Song Sang-Keun songmoon@donga.com