Thursday, February 28, 2008

The National Health Care System in South Korea

Everyone wants for health and wealth and fame. Unfortunately if people do not have good health, it is difficult to reach wealth and fame. In fact, no matter how much money people have, only if they continue to keep good health, can live in peaceful and enjoyable conditions. Everyone wants to have a better and longer life so people need good health care system. There are many countries with national health care systems. The look of these systems differ from country to country. “In 1976, the government of South Korea announced a plan and a timetable to achieve a universal health insurance plan.” (Center for Health Policy Research, 1992, p. 1). Accordingly, people have different thoughts about national health care system due to their personal experience. Thereafter the medical system has developed to benefit the nation. This program benefits many ways. The system is economical, is usable by everyone and it helps create culture stability.

The first of all, the national health care system is economical. Early care and preventative care is important part of national health care system. Early care reduces long health care problems. For example, if someone has diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, early treatment increases the patient’s life span and well health because they start medical care early. Therefore, people need less care because they are not terribly sick and preventative care is made from simple low cost items like high blood pressure medicines. Usually it is less expensive to treat someone with preventative medicine otherwise to put them in the hospital for emergency or long - term care. This early care and preventative care makes smaller sum to national health care costs. Hence National health care systems also save money for company employers. Because of preventative care, general health care of employees is often better. Therefore, employees are not absent at work much and this makes smaller costs to employers because they do not need to hire and train temporary employees or upset their business schedules. Thus, the South Korea national health care system treats health problems earlier before they become chronic or out of control. The result care is less overall costs to the government also more healthy and profitable workforce.

Secondly, the health care system is easily usable by everyone of Korea. This is to both the rich and the poor. It is so for several reasons. First, access to the national health care system is convenient. It is easy to find, check into and use most health care facilities. Also everyone is covered by a national health care system and everyone has a medical card that entitles them to care. Finally, most health care facilities will accept everyone with medical cards. Also there are lots of health care facilities. Likewise it is mostly easy to make an appointment. Finally, there is little paper work task to checking in. Secondly, after entering to a health care facility, the focus is on the patient’s wellbeing. For example, there is less worry about money because government pays for most medical fee. Consequently, patients have less stress under the pressure and can concentrate on feeling better not on worrying about money. When people hospitalize, they need someone to depend feel lonely so hospitals provide rooms with television and DVD for patients. However, they miss people such as their family, friends and neighbor. They want to talk and feel warm heart from them. Because of this reason hospitals prepare space for patient’s family in the same room. This is convenient both patients and their family members. When patients in hospital need to do something, they can ask to favor to their family members and also trust them if that errand is important or personal thing. For family members when they help patients, they need good food and a rest. Because taking care of patients takes lots of energy away from them. After patients eat food, family members food is served by hospitals. Food is well prepared and cheaper than outside restaurants. Therefore, they can eat nutritious food and take a rest for a while due to keeping indoors. As a result, patients can be relaxed with family members and family members also can stay with patients. This may help patients recover quickly and family members can keep saving time and good condition.

Lastly, the South Korean national health care system is good to national cultural stability. It makes stronger families and a stronger economy. Korean culture always stresses close families. Entire family, children, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings have a responsibility to help each others. This creates problem as medical care is very expensive. In the past, before introduction of national health care system, there were many bad happenings. People became sick and had no money. They sold their land, homes, cows, and gold marriage rings and sometimes people sold children as money for medical fees. People also lost their jobs and when they left hospital there were no place to live. Often whole families, aunts, uncles, grandparents gave up everything because of some sickness of relatives. These were bad things. The national health care system changed the bad things. Now people have securities about their future. They are less fearful of disaster because of any health problems. Also the system takes stress from families. It makes families stronger. Since because of workforce is healthier, the national life and culture has greater stableness. The economy is stronger because a work force is healthier, can work biggest hours, and is more reliable because of their best health. Healthy people are good workers. The well being people can pays taxes for government. The good health people can help children for homework. All these make society more stability.
Some opponents of the Korean national health care system claim the system has resulted in different problems. These are mostly problems of waste and poor use of health care money spending. Sometimes the national health care system has made too many doctors, nurses and employers related with in this field. “ The supply of medical doctors, mainly graduates from newly founded medical schools, has more than doubled from about 1400 new enrollees in 1976 to 3000 in 1994. In the same period, the number of beds rose from 64 to 318 per 100,000.”( Shin,1998, p.42). Finally, so there are too many people at medical facilities wanting to get job. So therefore there is unemployment with health care people. Health care people training costs big money. So this is a bad waste of money. However this could be worse. In South Korea we have plentiful work power such as many doctors, nurses, so many different parts of specialists. To be sure this helps people because everyone can meet doctor easily. Also there is another criticism. Often health care workers conduct is to treat patients or their family unkind and impolite. To be sure, this is not a good thing. But everywhere in every country some people do the rude thing. It means nothing about national health care system. These problems need to be improved. On the other hand they do not give good reason against the national health care system. Basic point is If people can not take advantage of this, a lot of people have to suffer from pain with some severe disease or light sickness. Waste of money and rudeness is not good. In any event it is more important to serve to human health. So opponents’ claim is just few problems compared to the benefits.

Summing up, the National health care system has brought many benefits and few disadvantages. Medical care is affordable to rich and poor persons. It is affordable to the country. And also medical care is convenient to find and to use for everyone. Finally, this contributes stronger culture attitude. The health care system gives the better life to people and develops medical study in medical department. This is the best method for human wellbeing. Some countries envy about this and Korean has much to be proud of in its health care system.


Shin, YS. (1998). Health care systems in transition 2. Korea, Part 1. An overview
of health care systems in Korea .Journal of Public Health Medicine, 20(1), 42. Retrieved January 31,2008, from http://

Lessons learned from the South Korean health care system. (1992, February).
Center for Health Policy Research. Retrieved January 31,2008, From