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‘Left-wing government relies on capitalism in nurturing physicians’
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2018.11.02 15:01
  • Updated 2018.11.02 15:01
  • comments 0

The Moon Jae-in government is showing duplicity in healthcare policy -- taking a socialist stance to expand the national health insurance but relying on the capitalist system to train healthcare professionals, an expert said.

Ahn Duck-sun, head of the Medical Policy Research Institute at Korean Medical Association (KMA)

Ahn Duck-sun, head of the Medical Policy Research Institute at Korean Medical Association (KMA), criticized the government’s lack of policy to nurture physicians in a contribution article to the latest e-newsletter of the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.

Ahn served as head of the Korean Institute of Medical Education and Evaluation, president of the Association for Medical Education in the Western Pacific Region (AMEWPR), and vice president of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).

“The government seems to have designed the ‘Moon Jae-in Care’ policy based on the medical systems of countries where medical care has already become a social practice. But it is hard to find a strategy to nurture medical professionals in the current system,” Ahn said. “While the government has a strong socialist color in the healthcare policy, it heavily depends on capitalist institutions to train healthcare workers.”

Ahn went on to say that individuals have to spend a lot of personal money to become a physician, without social or public investment. When they work as physicians, however, the government is emphasizing the state’s role in healthcare, directly controlling medical service fees in the name of the single national health insurance, he said.

“Due to this problem, the tense relationship between the physicians’ group and the government in charge of medical policy seems inevitable. The distorted medical care under strain makes physicians skeptical about their role and seriously undermines the satisfaction with the doctor’s job,” Ahn said.

He said there was no doubt that medical care is a socially significant proposition that could be pursued under any political system. Especially in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such plan will become even more critical, he said.

However, in Korea, medical education is still excluded from social practice and remains at the level of personal investment, Ahn pointed out.

“Our society must address this anachronistic issue,” he emphasized.

Policymakers of the “Mooncare” try to decide the payment for physicians based on social consensus but exclude social consensus when it comes to developing physicians, Ahn said.

“We have to think who should be responsible for high-cost education and training for clinical researchers which are required in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”


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