Yoon calls for quick ‘normalization’ of national health insurance

SEOUL– President Yoon Suk-yeol called Tuesday for a quick “normalization” of the national health insurance system, saying the previous government’s expanded coverage led to a waste of financial resources.

Yoon issued the call during a Cabinet meeting in what was seen as an indication of his intent to scrap the health insurance policy of the previous Moon Jae-in administration, which centered on expanding coverage and lowering the burden of hospital bills on households.
“Normalization of the national health insurance, which is the last bastion for protecting people’s health, is urgent,” he said. “Over the past five years, the government poured over 20 trillion won (US$15.4 billion) into increasing coverage, but it neglected medical misappropriation and health insurance free-riding, passing the burden to the majority of the public.”

Yoon said health insurance reform is not a choice but a necessity, and called for strengthening criteria to prevent wasting health insurance resources.

He also promised to spend the saved resources on helping vulnerable citizens and treating patients with severe diseases.

“Populist policies that waste precious taxpayers’ money destroy finances, damage the foundation of the health insurance system and ultimately force large sacrifices from the people,” Yoon said.

The president also expressed deep regret over the parliamentary delay in passing the 2023 budget plan.

He also promised to pursue labor market reforms based on a set of recommendations by experts Monday, which included increasing flexibility in working hours and reorganizing wage systems around performance.

Behind closed doors, Yoon emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law as he vowed to demand accountability from those involved in illegal activities during the recently ended truckers’ strike, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung.

“The rule of law is a system whereby everyone can enjoy freedom,” he said, according to Lee. “If the state, which should demand accountability for violations of the law, neglects that, then that amounts to denying our society’s freedom and neglecting the socially weak.”

Yoon went further to stress that it is possible to work or compromise with those who agree that freedom is the basic value underpinning society, but impossible to work with “people who try to remove freedom or forces that make a habit of false instigation and threats.”

Yoon also used the meeting to call for a just compensation system for football players, according to Lee.

The remark came after his dinner with the national football team following their return from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last week.

“K-contents are receiving world attention, but the key to the contents business is star business,” he was quoted as saying. “In order to succeed in star business, we must establish a just compensation system. Sports are important cultural content, so we should ask ourselves whether our national team players have been receiving proper compensation.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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