This study evaluates the Korean public healthcare system, and particularly the conditions surrounding the primary healthcare services, with the goal of identifying issues that need to be solved and improvements to be made in order to establish a public healthcare system for the future.
The dramatic growth of the Korean economy has prompted the emergence and advancement of a diversity of industries, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Despite the remarkable economic development, Korea is still plagued with income inequality, poor living security, and a host of other issues that it must solve in order to become a true welfare state. Improvements continue to be made, but solutions are slow to arrive.
Economic development is often accompanied by certain serious economic and social issues, with which not only Korea, but also other industrialized countries, struggle. The key question is whether the public healthcare system in Korea is capable of contributing to the goal of realizing universal welfare for all. As healthcare is a matter that exerts a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens, it continues to garner attention. The new paradigm on public healthcare that is on rise worldwide today is that of Availability, Accessibility, Quality, Continuity, and Acceptability.
Public healthcare can enhance citizens’ satisfaction and welfare foremost by improving its primary healthcare services. Although the fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan lays out provisions for the expansion of the healthcare system and the realization of medical welfare, the Korean government needs to make active efforts to improve the quality of its primary healthcare services. This will require a greater number of professional healthcare practitioners working in primary healthcare. Second, primary healthcare should be made available to all, regardless of class backgrounds or the ability to pay.
From 1974 to 1975, Sweden spent over 10 percent of the gross national income (GNI) on public healthcare for its people, whereas Korea spent only three percent of its GNI. This puts Korea in the same standing as the Republic of South Rhodesia. Thailand, Panama, and Israel, who spent 5.6 percent, 9.2 percent, and 6.3 percent of their GNI, respectively, while Italy, Austria, and Finland spent over seven percent, and Norway and Australia spent over eight percent. Korea falls short of the average healthcare spending of major economies, which is six percent.
The urban and industrial towns of Korea do possess well-equipped public healthcare services and resources, and over 90 percent of urban dwellers today have ready access to primary healthcare, thanks to the rapid economic development. However, rural areas are still poorly equipped, with 40 percent of rural residents barely having access to primary healthcare. The Korean government has a long way to go in this regard.
한국의 공공의료체계내의 1차의료(Primary healthcare in the Korean public healthcare system)
|Journal Title; Vol./Issue||한국개발연구:vol. 1(issue 4)|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Social Development < Health|
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|