|President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a government-public debate on medical reform issues at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on Feb. 1, 2024./ Source: Yonhap News
By AsiaToday reporter Hong Sun-mi
President Yoon Suk-yeon has reiterated calls for medical reform on Thursday, saying, “If we retreat from the medical reform that the majority of people wish for due to the objections and resistance of some, that would be no different from neglecting the fundamental role of the state.”
He made the remarks during a government-public debate on medical reform issues at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in Seongnam, south of Seoul, where he unveiled a new policy package consisting of four core lines of effort – increasing medical personnel, strengthening local medical services, building a safety net for medical accidents and enhancing compensation fairness.
“Now is the golden time to pursue medical reform,” Yoon said. “Without hesitation, we will only pursue reform looking at the people and the future.”
Yoon said the government would restrict lawsuits seeking criminal punishment for medical staff from the victims of medical accidents while pursuing legislation to alleviate the legal risks from medical accidents for medical staff. “We will definitely reform the non-benefit and loss insurance system that encourages medical abuse, disrupts the market, and threatens the sustainability of health insurance,” he said.
In a briefing to the president, the government announced its plans to invest more than 10 trillion (US$ 7.5 billion) in surplus health insurance premiums in the essential medical services sector, and to increase the quota of medical schools in the country beginning next year. It also suggested measures for non-metropolitan medical schools to select more than 40 percent of medical personnel from their regions, as well as measures to ease the burden of criminal punishment for medical personnel in case of medical accidents by enacting the “Special Act on Medical Accident Handling.”