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Koreans put healthcare quality ahead of broader insurance coverage
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2019.11.22 12:44
  • Updated 2019.11.22 12:44
  • comments 0

The Moon Jae-in administration has expanded the national health insurance coverage, especially for low-income households, under the so-called Moon Jae-in Care (Mooncare) policy.

However, a recent survey showed that the Korean public regarded the quality of medical service more important than enhanced health insurance.

Professor You Myoung-soon at Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health commissioned the survey to Hankook Research to ask 1,000 Korean adults in October. She found that “quality and safety of medical care” matter the most to the respondents. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence.

In a question to put the importance of health policy on a five-point scale, the respondents gave “the importance of policy to guarantee the quality and safety of healthcare services for the public” the highest score, with an average of 4.37.

The second place went to the “policy to strengthen health insurance coverage to reduce the medical expenses of the public,” which scored 4.27 on average. The third most important was the “policy to improve the medical delivery system so that healthcare service is not concentrated in specific regions and institutions,” at 4.25.

“An expansion of the state responsibility and the government investment in unmet medical care” received 4.21, and “the policy to improve medical and nursing services to maintain and promote health in rapidly changing demographics caused by fast aging and low birth rate” got 4.19.

On the other hand, the respondents gave lower points to “policy to enhance intra-agency collaboration,” (4.12), “governance improvement policy,” (4.06), “advancing health technology and information and creating added value” (3.99), and “the policy to integrate the health of humans, animals, and the ecosystem” (3.77).

On healthcare policy satisfaction, “the current government's health policy compared to that of the last government” received the highest, an average of 3.29 points. “The policy achievement compared to goals” got the satisfaction level at 3.27.

However, in terms of “output value compared to input resources (economic efficiency),” satisfaction was the lowest at 3.06, and “social dialogue for healthcare policy (communication with the public')” was also low at 3.12.

About 31 percent of the respondents said medical expenses burdened their households, while 31.5 percent said healthcare spending was not burdensome. Some 38 percent said they were neutral.

“The survey reflected the public opinion that although the expansion of medical access was an important policy, what’s most important for the health authorities was to secure the safety and quality of healthcare,” Professor You said.


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