10,000 Korean Doctors Protest Hospital Privatization

On Decmber 15th, a crowd of ten thousand Korean doctors filled a park in central Seoul to protest the government’s new plan for hospitals and pharmacies. One of the nation’s largest medical unions threatened to strike over the proposal to deregulate the medical sector, allowing hospitals to open for-profit businesses and the creation of franchise pharmacies. Protesters claimed the plan would corrupt the medical industry and destroy small pharmacies.

Comments were generally supportive of the protesters, and in particular criticized Naver for appearing to hide the story by manipulating its popularity ranking.

Article From Money Today:

Doctors and Pharmacists Fiercely Protest Government’s Push to Privatize Medical Industry, Prospect of Doctors’ Strike.

President of Korean Medical Association (KMA), Roh Hwan-kyu, gave a speech during a rally against the government's policy on December 15. During his address, he used a knife to cut his own neck to demonstrate the strength of his opposition.

President of Korean Medical Association (KMA), Roh Hwan-kyu, gave a speech during a rally against the government’s policy on December 15. During his address, he used a knife to cut his own neck to demonstrate the strength of his opposition.

On December 15, at 2:00 p.m.the roads around Yeouido Park in Seoul were teeming with 160 buses carrying doctors from regions across the nation. In the sub-zero wind chill temperature, about 20,000 doctors-police estimated 10,000-sat on the cold ground and chanted, “Stop introducing telemedicine,” “Scrap the separation of the prescribing and dispensing of drugs that creates trouble for the public.”

[Note: Korea started to enforce separation of prescription and dispensation of drugs in 1999 in a bid to prevent overuse of drugs. Under the system, doctors only give prescriptions to patients who in turn have them filled at pharmacies.

Roh Hwan-kyu, President of the Korean Medical Association (KMA) and its emergency task force, stood on a makeshift podium to give an address to the assembled crowd, calling for medical reforms, and even interrupted the middle of his speech when he used a knife to make a cut on his own neck in demonstration of his opposition. Similarly, directors of the KMA shaved their heads to display their firm resolve to oppose the government’s latest move.

The government dropped two regulatory requirements on December 13th to galvanize investment in the healthcare and medical industry; hospitals are now allowed to go into lodging, cosmetics and hot spring business for profit while pharmacists are permitted to set up large pharmacy franchises.

Instead of welcoming the apparent ‘carrot’ that the government offers, the healthcare and medical industry is united in protest, claiming that the latest move is a step toward the privatization of the industry.

The KMA asserted, “If the government continues to disregard the proper view from our 1.1 million doctors, and keeps its intrusive policy, the nation’s healthcare will be halted,” hinting at a possible strike by doctors in a display of their firm opposition. The Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) also made clear its objection against the government’s decision, claiming, “The government is biased in its attempt to privatize the healthcare and medical industry without consulting medical professionals.”

The vehement opposition from the two major interests does not bode well for the future of the government’s plan to increase investment in the medical sector: permitting for-profit businesses within hospitals and allowing the creation of chain drug stores for pharmacists. The two policy proposals both pave the way for a battle over medical privatization between the government and the medical profession.

Opposition from KMA Doctors and Pharmacists

Neighborhood clinics and drug stores have voiced unexpectedly strong opposition, seeing the suggestion of for-profit business for hospitals as a step toward the privatization of the medical industry. The KMA official said, “It appears that the government is telling hospitals with financial troubles to move into other profitable ventures.” He added, “The influx of outside money into hospitals makes them put a bigger focus on making money than practicing medicine. Ultimately, medical service will decline in quality, taking a toll on patients.”

The plan to introduce telemedicine drew similar opposition: critics say the changes will only benefit large hospitals to the exclusion of small neighborhood clinics. The privatization of the medical industry would create the survival of the fittest, where capital-flush big hospitals would become winners and cash-strapped small clinics would be buried for good.

The same criticism was leveled at the proposed drug store franchises. The KPA claims, “Privatization would cause the concentration of capital and patients in big pharmacies, weakening the public good pharmacists offer for people. Big drug store franchises could threaten the survival of small neighborhood pharmacists.”

Government: “The medical sector needs greater development”

In the face of the vigorous opposition from the healthcare and medical industry, the government sees the new policies as a critical stepping stone toward privatization and as a way to make the industry competitive.

Under the current law, only doctors and non-profit organizations can set up medical institutions. In the government’s viewpoint, however, small independent clinics can’t compete with world-class hospitals on an equal footing.

The government forecasts that privatization will drive more companies into the medical service market and promote competition, eventually leading to higher quality medical services at lower prices.

In the United States and Britain, for-profit hospitals make up 10 percent of all hospitals, and 20 percent in France.

The government also pointed out that non-profit hospitals are restricted in attracting foreign patients and setting up medical firms overseas. As things stand, it is impossible for local hospitals to make an overseas investment or bring in foreign investment.

A representative from a large hospital stated, “Whether big or small, I think hospitals seek to make a profit. With that in mind, the opposition to the medical privatization makes no sense.” The official emphatically said, “To say that hospitals and clinics compete for the same type of patient is ridiculous. It’s about time that both of them develop the medical sector instead of balking at reform measures.”

In Seoul's Yeouido Park, doctors from across the nation rallied against the government's plan to permit  profit-making activity in hospitals and the establishment of drug store franchises.

In Seoul’s Yeouido Park, doctors from across the nation rallied against the government’s plan to permit profit-making activity in hospitals and the establishment of drug store franchises.

Comments from Daum:


I think President Park put the nation on path to collapse.


Privatization for who? We should not allow only rich people to receive medical services which would soar in prices, a sorrowful and tragic situation.


Those who would bear the brunt of the damage from privatized medical services are the members of the poor working class who support the ruling Saenuri Party, including old men living from hand to mouth picking up cardboard boxes on the streets. They should be opposed to the governmental policy.


I’m an Korean-American living in the America. The healthcare insurance bill for my three family members is ₩1.3 million. My employer covers the medical insurance only for me. Adding two members to my insurance policy costs me ₩800,000 won. That explains why people here say we have to work to get insured. When taken to the ER, you can be saved but without insurance policy, you become bankrupt. I am so sorry for the development in Korea.


I want to ask whether there is any country where medical privatization brings about good results.


When President Park gave a speech in French as part of her European tour, her address drew a thunderous round of applause. But it turned out that the clapping was not for her eloquent speech, but for her remarks that South Korea would lift the restriction on access to public sectors, including railway and medical services. That’s why Ms. Park was welcomed in France. But our garbage news media frantically tried to praise her speech.


Before long, Samsung will acquire all hospitals across the nation.

Comments from Naver:


Naver, what a son of bitch! You are trying to hide this article from the public. Portal news services are bastards. Don’t tamper with the real-time rankings of news articles. Post this right away!


Now we know the railway services are not the big issue. The government’s policy on railway services is a smokescreen. The government already shoved the bill through the parliament. Are they just a bunch of thugs?


[…] The Constitution states that all powers comes from people, doesn’t it? Why does the government push ahead with this policy without hearing from the people?. President Park has suddenly taken us by surprise. Like father, like daughter.


One of the best things late former President Roh Moo-hyun did was the massive cut in healthcare insurance bills for people.[…]


There was no mention of medical service privatization on the morning news…


Now is 7 o’clock in the moring. crazy Naver! in the wee hours, when people were asleep this article tops the list of most-searched news article on the real-time basis, but a while ago an article about Nam young-joo on a K-pop Star took the No. 1 spot on the list, now an article about One Day and Two Nights is at the top. Are you really trying to manipulate the ranking?[…]


The father of President Park killed people with guns, now his daughter is going to kill people with the privatization plan. Don’t do it.


She said (during her presidential election campaign) she was a ‘prepared president’. How much did you preprare… If she rolls out all her plans, the nation would be blown to pieces.

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  • Digitalsoju

    Shady stuff by naver. Makes me wonder who is paying them to manipulate the rankings.

  • nqk123

    health care industry is so shitty. call me whatever you want but I support: universal health care, single payer, socialize health care. these heath insurers, pharma, doctors, hospitals, medical equipment producers are all leeches.

    • Mighty曹

      As for affordability, health care system in the US is beyond repair. Canada’s socialized health care is among the world’s best. When will we learn from the Canucks???
      Also, switch to the metric system already!

      • chucky3176

        “Canada’s socialized health care is among the world’s best.”

        No it’s not. Canadians get what they paid for. Free means very poor service. I even have personal experience. My brother’s mother-in-law died of throat cancer after waiting in line for surgery for 6 months. My brother’s father-in-law had the chance to take his wife back to Korea for immediate surgery within 3 days arrival in Korea, but he passed on it and she ended up waiting in line until there was no chance the surgery was going to save her. If she had immediate surgery, she would have lived at least minimum 5 years.

        You go to a doctor’s office in Canada, you end up waiting over an hour minimum, even two hours. If you go to emergency to get your broken bones mended, you end up in line for at least 5 hours. Hospitals are all old and rundown, short of hospital beds (patients wait in portable beds wait in hospital halls waiting for beds), lack number of nurses, they smell, and the equipments are old. It’s great that people don’t have to worry about medical costs, but the level of treatment quality is pretty bad, compared to South Korea and the US. At least in the US, if you have the money, you’re guaranteed to get top notch treatment. But in Canada, even if you had money, you’re still going to get shit.

        What South Korea has in its medical system, South Koreans should be proud of it. It beats Canada’s by a mile. It’s partly funded by universal coverage, and partly covered by individuals who can get extra coverages by enrolling in private insurance companies. The treatments in Korea are very inexpensive, and anything that you pay out of pocket, as long as you are covered in private insurance, you are fully covered. There are no line ups in doctor’s office, you go in and you come out in 15 minutes with your prescriptions. And the cost would be pocket change. I think Korean medical system is one big reason why South Korea is starting to outstrip the OECD countries in average life span.

        The scheme to privatize Korea’s hospitals would be disasterous for Korean consumers. The hospitals will jack up their prices (because right now, medical costs including medicine are held down by government mandated price caps). And then the insurance companies will do the same, and one and on the ripple effect. They’ll end up like the United States. Don’t understand why Korea would want to mess with something that has worked so fine up to now.

        • nqk123

          hospital want more money, pharma want more money, insurance com want more money, greedy doctors want money. money, money and more money

        • bigmamat

          When you talk about Canada you obviously have never been to the U.S. It takes a LOT of money to get top notch treatment here. Waits in the emergency room, check, try 4 hours to mend a broken bone, not in NYC but in podunck. Waits at the doctor’s office, check, I’ve never been to the doctor that I didn’t have to wait. If South Korea has a better health care system than Canada or the U.S. they damned well better take to the streets to keep that from changing.

          • chucky3176

            Admittedly, I’ve never experienced US healthcare, but I didn’t think it was that bad from the readings I got. I’ve extensive experience with healthcare in Canada and Korea, and Korea’s healthcare including mandatory annual physical exams involving extensive probes, for their employees, impresses me greatly.

          • I’m A Fiend

            I had to go to the hospital to get stitches for a 4 inch wound @11pm at night. They made me wait with my self applied crappy bandage for an hour in the waiting room before they took me into the practically empty and calm emergency room (i live outside NYC in a suburb). I then laid on a gurney for another 15-20 min before the doctor came over and asked to see my wound. He then gave me a tetnus shot, numbing shot and stitched it up all in less than 10 minutes, The bill was almost $3000 dollars which luckily because i was a 24yr old full time student on my mothers insurance was fully covered with just $75 co pay. out of pocket. Our healthcare is ridiculously expensive for no reason and i understand why many people fly to other countries for surgeries.

          • Chucky3176

            And to think that over 60 million Americans don’t have any coverage (this was before Obamacare, I don’t know how it is now), how do Americans who don’t have coverage can ever survive without medical treatment?

          • Yaminah Jamison

            Ah you made me remember the days when my mom said “Don’t go out there and get hurt! I ain’t got insurance on you!” I do think many don’t know so many have different circumstances and to some, having universal healthcare is a blessing… to others… no. My brother is a homeowner, bringing home a decent check every year and has three kids a wife and sadly none don’t have insurance anymore. I think something happened with his wife’s disability so they are no longer covered and he just joined the union but still can’t add them yet. His income may say he’s stable but it is not the reality of it all. Kids are still young (one is a baby) Many times… people just hope nothing bad ever happens. I do know one thing if I ever got injured or whatever I rather a friend/family drive me to the ER/hospital and not anyone call an ambulance. That alone is…ugh… It just really sucks. Not everyone qualifies for welfare, kids have to have certain shots before going to school and well… many can’t afford it.

          • I’m A Fiend

            I don’t know. My biggest fear if i lose my job is to not have coverage. I know there is emergency medicaid but I think you have to be in a life threatening situation to apply for it.

          • nqk123

            you have to spend everything you have in your bank first (not sure about properties) in order to get help from the federal.

          • David

            They don’t they are all just dropping dead. Chucky, I don’t know where you got your number but it is simply made up. You have been misinformed.

          • David

            I don’t understand your complaint. At 11 pm you got a tetanus shot, numbed and stitched up in less than an hour and a half and you only paid $75 (or your parents did). Do you think they should have dropped whatever else they were doing and run to your side, taken care of you then not charged you anything? People from other countries with money fly to the U.S. for good surgeries. They only go to other countries for cheap plastic surgery.

          • I’m A Fiend

            my complaint is that the doctor was just walking around and talking to the nurses, he wasn’t attending to any of the patients who were in the emergency room (i assume they had been there a while before me and already taken care of). There were a bunch of nurses hanging out at their station talking and laughing, no one offered me at least some gauze to help stop the bleeding, the nurse who talked me over to my gurney told me to lie down so it would not bleed as much (my cut was on my leg). I had been bleeding through my pants at that point. Considering I was being billed i want better care. He didn’t have to drop everything to help me but you have someone waiting, if your not doing anything take care of the patient then go back to your conversation. And where did i say not pay him anything? the insurance paid him and the hospital almost $3000. My mother was paying a couple of hundred for having me on her insurance so he was not doing anything for free.

          • bballi

            above you cite only your “relatives” as examples but then here say you have “extensive” experience…ok then… seriously, you’ve lost all creditability , if you ever even had any….

          • yahnati

            Another anecdote about the American healthcare system.
            I’d hit my head during a fall, ending up with a concussion, some stitches, and external bruising. One night in the hospital. Over $22,000.

            Under the ACA in my area, the least expensive coverage I can find is $170 per month for a premium, on a plan that has a $5400 deductible (which, for the non-insurance-minded, is what has to be paid out of the patient’s (my) pocket before the insurance pays anything).

          • David

            This is not my experience at all. I am middle class in the U.S. and I got perfectly excellent service with my old insurance for many years. So did everybody in my family (including my mother suffering many strokes and needing constant care and my father living with cancer three different times. While it is true that it is worse if your poor (free services are slow and not as extensive, but can be life saving) most people are middle class and if they had normal insurance with their employer they were pretty happy. OF course all of that has changed in the last year, thanks to trying to “fix” the way things worked. Now more than 5 million insurance policies have been forced to be be canceled in the last 6 months due to the President’s ACA..

        • nqk123

          it sound a lot better than a $12k bill for a broken arm. which i have to pay more than $4k out of pocket.

          • chucky3176

            My mother had a fall in the US and she got a $5000 bill at the hospital for fixing the arm. Luckily she had travel insurance. I shudder to think those people who don’t have insurance… In Korea, $5000 for a broken arm is unthinkable and something you read in horror stories.

          • bigmamat

            That’s about right. Please join the fight to keep your good government funded healthcare.

        • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

          I don’t know about Canada and such, but that is the downside of universal health care, that there are waiting times. Most of the time the doctors priotrise the patients, so those who are in most need of medical attention get it first.

          I once broke a bone in my arm and was sorted out within 30mins. The one time I was attacked and bottled (I got away before being surrounded) I was just asked to be kept in the hospital (they let me lie down on a bed and said not to sleep) for a few hours just to observe if there were signs of any damage (thankfully none). But if you end up going in busy periods there are waits.

          Then there is the surgeries and transplants, these take longer and pretty much if you are in the states, if you can’t afford it or have no insurance, than you are as good as dead, where here you wait and you might be able to survive. I think national and private healthcare should be side by side but kept separate. I have seen how making something even a bit private can have effects on the prices.

        • Yorgos

          Yeah, but to be fair, those mandated caps push my dentist to go for 2 root canals when I only needed one, to tell me that I need a cleaning 3 weeks after my last, and go for composite when a normal filling will do. Anyways, so far, I don’t see any lifting of those caps. Just trying to find a loophole for hospitals to make more money. I don’t like it- but someone please explain to me how it’s the downfall of the medical care system in Korea? It doesn’t require 1000 Korean doctors to cut their necks. It requires you guys to stop electing chabeol puppets as your leaders.

        • Mighty曹

          I speak from the experience I had with my grand parents and an uncle there. They all had treatments for various ailments without paying a dime. As with emergency services anywhere if it’s not ‘life threatening’ the wait is expected to be long. When I visited my uncle in Vancouver I often accompanied him on his dialysis sessions. There was no waiting and the staff was friendly and cordial. It was in a room with 5 other patients for the same treatment under a very family like atmosphere.

      • A Pinky Promise

        As someone who’s lived in both Canada and South Korea, (I’m sorry but) Canada’s healthcare is slow, inconvenient and expensive in my arrogant opinion. I don’t understand why westerners praise Canada’s health care system so much. Most Canadians I’ve met were super nice. But Canadian nurses? Not so much. And I had to wait fucking 6 hours to get a stitch in an emergency room and it took me forever to make an appointment with a specialist. In Korea, everything was much faster, nurses were nicer, medical fees were cheaper. In Seoul, there are many new hospitals with brand new up-to-date machines opening every year, too.

        Even my Canadian friends were impressed by Korean healthcare.

        • David

          This is one of the reasons why Canadians who have money come to the U.S. for their healthcare. .

      • Guest

        “Canada’s socialized health care is among the world’s best. ”
        you state that as a fact, based on what?

      • justmega

        Socialized anything sucks. Canada’s health care is crap. People die waiting for help. It’s expensive. Canadians travel abroad for cheaper, better surgery. Why are people so misinformed about Canada’s healthcare system. Google medical tourism. Google Medibid.

        Rofl, Chucky was ‘impressed greatly’ by ‘extensive probing’

    • I see this site is teeming with socialists who don’t know what kind of hell they’re asking for

      • Ruaraidh

        Start with socialised healthcare and the next thing you’ll find yourself in gulag, wanking guards off over images of Mao and Stalin. It’s a statistical fact that 101% of countries with state medical welfare (hell-fare, more like) are appalling places to live, whilst places with no provision regularly top the ranking in HDI and all other metrics.

        • nqk123

          you think people are idiots in developed nations. that only happen in less educated/ very poor nations.

          • Ruaraidh

            No country with socialistic state education has ever had a university in the top of the world rankings. Laissez-faire education policy is what made Africa the education and research giant that it is today! All hail Ayn Rand, George Bush and Jesus!

        • bigmamat

          That’s funny. I think all of Europe would find it amusing that you think it’s an appalling, hellish place to live. I think the french might be wankers but I’m sure they’re wanking off to something different than Mao or Stalin….are you mentally challenged?

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I think Ruaraidh may have been joking there…

          • Ruaraidh

            One of us must be mentally challenged…But it’s not me. I’m switched on, working hard on my croft every day, saving up cumals, buying cattle. Soon I’ll have enough cows to trade some for a wife. What’s this Europe you mention? we’ve never heard of that in the Gaidhealtachd.

        • Yawn. Your obvious sarcasm screams overrated, disputable claims. Lemme see, your Nordic dreamland?

    • RothschildIsMoney

      You have no idea what you’ve just said and you don’t care about it anyway.

  • Mighty曹

    LOL@ “Before long, Samsung will acquire all hospitals across the nation.”

  • Mighty曹

    Sorry for being off topic but can anyone tell/direct me to the story in which the following photo appears? (I keep seeing it flanking stories here on KB and I’m intrigued by that mysterious girl).

    • Doge Wallace

      I saw it somewhere on KB or maybe on The Marmot’s blog. Just dig a little, but there is no other shot of that girl. (I was intrigued by her as well)

  • HaydenG

    So much economic ignorance. The medical unions are just trying to protect their government enforced monopoly. Privatization will result in better quality care and lower prices.

    • nqk123

      how many private comp do you know that actually trying to lower prices for consumers? i do agree that their services will be better

      • HaydenG

        they don’t try to.. they are forced to.. and walmart for one. walmarts entire business model is based on offering its goods cheaper through its extremely efficient distribution system. It has allowed millions of Americans to live at a higher standard of living than they could otherwise afford.

        • nqk123

          you actually use walmart to defense your statement.

          • David

            The economical/business models are applicable. When you have more competition, you will get lower prices. In many states in the U.S. Small clinics (doc in the box they are called) have taken the place of regular doctor offices because they provide easy and quick (and cheap) service for those who do not make doctor appointments 3 months ahead of time and don’t want to spend $2000 for an emergency room visit when they have a cold.

          • nqk123

            competition is the main problem in healthcare industry. we don’t have enough doctors, hospitals, insurers, drug companies, etc fighting each others. the demand side has always been greater than the supply side. also, i been to one of those clinic, not much difference from my primary doctor

    • chucky3176

      South Korea’s medical care costs are very low already, how much lower can they get when they privatize the system? Guaranteed that they’re not going to take salary cuts or cut prices on medicines. It’s only going to go up and up. The Korean medical care is already pretty high, why mess with it when it’s not broke?

      • HaydenG

        because the mandatory payroll taxes for healthcare are very tough for those struggling with low paying jobs in korea. They take between 5 and 10 percent of your pay in addition to other taxes. It hits the poor really hard.

        • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

          The poor are taxed for universal health care in many european nations, you’d see that most people there, even the poor, don’t mind their tax going to pay for that. They do have issues with their tax going to pay for other things.

        • chucky3176

          Pay roll income tax rate in Korea is one of the lowest in the OECD, at an average of 15%. If there’s to be a national health insurance, how else are they going to pay for it other than through taxes?

      • RothschildIsMoney

        The prices for medicines and salary is completely irrelevant. Because a private own hospitals have contracts with the provider.

    • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

      Well, from what I read, the cost of medical services in the states cost a whole lot more to people than they do, say in Western Europe. Though the service may be better we are talking about Korea here. Corruption will happen and pretty much after 5-10 years people will be talking about the days when the health service was cheaper.

      • HaydenG

        the United states has government run universal healthcare so..

        • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

          Is that on the same level I can expect in Europe? If not, then it is useless.

          • HaydenG

            well what you get in europe is complete garbage. well its fine if you don’t mind the months of waiting. seriously look up the average wait times in the UK. its no wonder they have so much more cancer deaths than americans did before obamacare. because they have to wait months to start treatment

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I am from the UK. I know what I am getting in the UK. You have no idea what people are getting in the UK. The difference is this, if you have the cash, you can go private in the UK. You don’t have to stay on the waiting list.

            From your statement you have no idea how different ‘obamacare’ is to the NHS in the UK. I know about the waiting lists. This is one of the drawbacks of universal health care, everyone is entitled to it, so you have to serve everyone. Private healthcare has shorter waiting lists as there is less people for them to serve as there is less people who can afford it.

          • HaydenG

            no.. you are misunderstanding the economics of socialized healthcare. Please bear with me and I can explain it to you as I have spent years studying this.
            There is not shorter waiting lists because of the number of people to serve. Apple serves far more people than any healthcare system does but you don’t have to go on a waiting list to get an Iphone.

            The reason there are waiting lists is because of price controls. A free market system uses competition to keep prices down just like Walmart competes with Costco which lowers prices. A socialized system cannot do this. Instead the government must use price controls to keep costs down. The NHS says to suppliers we will not provide more than x amount of money for a certain treatment or medicine.

            you can draw a simple supply demand curve to plot the resulting effects of the price controls. healthcare is very inelastic on the demand side because price has been taken out of the equation. People do not care about the price but they need the care.

            on the supply curve however it is elastic like any other industry. the price controls take the form of a price ceiling which is set below the equilibrium of supply and demand (free market price)

            if you look at the resulting supply demand curve its easy to see this results in a shortage (binding price ceilings always result in shortages). the shortage takes the form of waiting lists.


            here is a graph showing what i said. P2 is equilibrium price, Q2 is equilibrium quantity. The red line is the binding price ceiling set at price P3. This results in consumers demanding Q3 amount of healthcare, but suppliers at that price are only willing to produce Q1 amount of healthcare. Q1 is far less than Q3 you can see. so there is a shortage of healthcare (waiting lists)

          • nqk123

            here is a simple private vs public example: college education. should I go on?

          • HaydenG

            well… the best universities in the world are private. primary school students who attend private schools are far more likely to go to college and more likely to end up above the middle class even with the same grades. So I dunno, should you go on?

          • nqk123

            privatization only work for a group of people (people with money). also, the law of supply and demand does not work for health care because demand will always be greater (unlimited demand) than supply

          • HaydenG

            that’s economically impossible in a free market. the vast majority of healthcare involves trivial matters like putting in IVs and changing bandages. This can be done by someone with 10 minutes of training. Its government that bans normal people from doing it without passing government medical certification exams.

          • nqk123

            How old are you? if you don’t mind answering it.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I know in Korea the IV thing is what happens most, but pretty much from my experiences, people in the UK don’t go for just such things. And most a trained to do work in their environment in the hospital, so they change bandages, put in IVs as a part of their job – their job doesn’t just consist of those things!

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I’m sorry, but your use of “Apple” in this instance is a really bad analogy (I’ll not go into it as I am sure, you who have studied this for years will know why).

            Apple does have a waiting list (or the stores or companies that sell Apple Products – pre-order). They usually make products suited to the demand. This is different from medical care and your use of stores and free market companies isn’t really ideal.

            I can go on but do I really have to?

            Companies that make products for consumers is not the same as offering healthcare.

            I can live without an iPhone. I can live without going to walmart by growing my own vegs, fruits, but when it comes to surgeries, they have hospitals and doctors have me by the balls.

            And if private healthcare is so cheap, why can’t I afford it?

          • HaydenG

            Those waiting lists are only for products that have not been released yet. And if you don’t like that example how about auto repair. why is there no shortage of auto repair you don’t have to go on a waiting list to get your car fixed even though 80% of British households own a car. auto repair is nearly as critical as healthcare because if your car isnt working you cannot go to work.

            As to why you can’t afford the private care in the UK? That’s simple, the government is providing healthcare at a loss so there is no competition because private healthcare cannot compete with the government one. You have created a two tiered system in the UK where the private healthcare has no hope of competing for the middle class and poor in the UK because the government is providing free care, so they only compete for the wealthy.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            auto repair is nearly as critical as healthcare because if your car isnt working you cannot go to work.


            Again, your use of analogy isn’t great. There are alternatives (unless you live in small villages in the countryside) to getting somewhere in the UK.

            From my experience, Private healthcare is used by people in the UK who want to bypass waiting lists and get their surgery done quicker. Those who can afford it do it. Hell, we have BUPA if you want to take out health insurance for such reasons. So it isn’t like there isn’t an alternative to people who are one waiting lists.

            “As to why you can’t afford the private care in the UK?”

            I was talking about my experience of healthcare that are under a private system, not in the UK.

  • bigmamat

    Not a big surprise. The current government has obviously taken a large sip from the free market kool aide. I’d feel a lot more sorry for Koreans if we didn’t have enough of the same problem in my own country. Oh well, Koreans might get a chance to experience going from 15th in the world economic index right back down to 3rd world status in less than century.

    • HaydenG

      The US has a problem with too much free market? really? we just got universal healthcare and its failing horribly. welfare is at an all time high. our government run schools are collapsing. its like to be a liberal you have to shut yourself off in an anti-reality bubble that rejects any kind of fact or reason and only allows in obama talking points.

      • bigmamat

        Yes, we do have to much “free market” because in the U.S the free market isn’t really free. It’s government subsidized. We didn’t get “universal health care”. Universal healthcare is like what they have in those “socialist” countries you mentioned. Government run public schools are collapsing right along with the housing market and the broader economy. Funding you know. I find myself in an anti reality bubble when I get into exchanges with keen minds like yours. I never mentioned Obama.

        • HaydenG

          “we have too much free market because the free market isn’t really free”… wow how do I argue with that logic. well for normal people.. you can’t have too much of something if that something isnt actually the thing.

          If I have too many apples, but the apples aren’t really apples then i have zero apples.. and zero apples cannot be too many apples.

          • bigmamat


          • HaydenG

            yeah thats exactly what I thought when I read what you said.

      • nqk123

        Obamacare is far from universal health.

  • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

    There are two stories here. One about the doctors striking over what they see as privatization of the health sector (which I don’t think is a good thing) and Naver manipulating the rankings so people do not read about this story.

    Those who live in countries that have ‘socialist’ healthcare will tell you that yes, the wait can be long but you will not end up bankrupt for minor medical needs. It’s why I could, for say in Europe, have an accident that results in my fingers getting chopped off and have them all reattache, while somewhere like the US I have to think of the costs and maybe could only afford a few of them reattached.

    The Naver issue seems really dodgy, and in a place that is suppose to be democratic that does seem to show someone is fiddling the stats so that a real big story doesn’t come out and cause problems for certain people in the government and/or those that would profit a lot from privatisation of healthcare.

  • Yorgos

    hmmm. allowing hospitals to open up spas and franchise pharmacies. i like Korea’s medical system, but am I the only one who doesn’t see this equals privatization? My prescription bill for 5 days of antibiotics and pain killers this week was 1,500 won. Is it going to go up to 2,000 won? I am no fan of Park Geunhye, but a certain portion of the public seems to blow these things out or proportion.

    • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

      “My prescription bill for 5 days of antibiotics and pain killers this week was 1,500 won. Is it going to go up to 2,000 won?” It might start as small increases and then in 10-20 years time it could be putting you back 100,000won for the same thing.

      I think if they want private medical care, then there should be an option available to those who wish to take that route while keeping certains structures intact.

      • Yorgos

        But I mean, is there some way to stop inflation and rising standard of living? I mean, if it goes up 10,000 won every 3 years, then we might have something to complain about. My point being, nothing so far is indicative of rising prescription prices, rising doctor’s fees ( bear in mind Korean insurance only covers about 65% of total costs now). And there is an option for those who want private care. It’s also a necessity for certain illnesses (cancer being the big one)

        • chucky3176

          Most Koreans supplement universal healthcare coverage provided by the national health insurance which they pay into, with very affordable private insurance coverages to cover for illnesses that aren’t covered under the national plan and to cover for out of pocket expenses. Many Koreans have some kind of private cancer coverages for instance. About $150 a month is enough to cover for the family of four.

          • David

            That is the point of insurance. You are pooling everybody together and sharing the risk. The chances of a healthy 23 year old developing cancer is small but him and 50000 of his friends pays for the 65 year old smoker has a much higher chance of getting it.

  • RothschildIsMoney

    What a naive! They hate it so much that they don’t understand how economy works. People need to stop looking at the government as some kind of helper.
    Government can only provide said commodity by taking from one and giving to the other(in a form of taxes). A free market competition is what creates incentive to lower the prices of a product.

    • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

      Is that why medical care in the USA is soo cheap?

      • HaydenG

        its not cheap in the US. we have a massive government run healthcare system that has driven up prices at insane rates.

        • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

          Really? Can you tell me how this has happened?

          • HaydenG

            the main reason is due to restrictions placed on insurance. It is illegal to sell insurance across state lines which kills competition. there are things called certificate of need laws which ban people from opening clinics unless they get government approval, this is designed to protect the monopoly which keeps prices high benefiting medical providers.

            there are huge barriers to becoming a doctor set in place by the government. for example to become an eye doctor you may only need 2 years of training but government regulations forbid you from practicing medicine unless you have had 8 years of medical school in which you learn about heart problems, lung problems, bone problems, skin problems even though that is all completely irrelevant to you because you are going to be an eye doctor and will never need any of that.

          • David

            All excellent points Hayden. God forbid you want to be a OB/Gyno you have to pay enormous malpractice insurance premiums (in Illinois almost a million dollars/year in premiums for a doctor).

      • RothschildIsMoney

        Are you implying US have a market competition in medical sector?

        • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

          Am I?

          • RothschildIsMoney

            Well, medical care in US is not cheap. Government involvement is what drives prices up. The US healthcare system is very far from a free market, it is one of most heavily regulated industry in the country, along with the financial industry. All those regulations is what make healthcare is extremely expensive.

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            So you are telling me, that all that healthcare cost is due to the government?

            I can understand regulation, but can you tell me how it actually affects it? Like a example of a regulation and how it raises the costs and why?

          • HaydenG

            I already explained this for you very well in a reply to your post below that said “Really? Can you tell me how this has happened?”

          • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

            I didn’t see that reply when i came to the page and replied to the above.

          • nqk123

            that guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

          • David

            I am not sure this is the right format to be discussing Americas health Insurance laws. Before I retired and became a teacher I ran my own company, an insurance brokerage for almost twenty years and worked with insurance companies, doctors and patients everyday dealing with the cost of healthcare.

            In America, heathcare costs are very complicated and many things go into them. If you see a doctor in the emergency room, even for a cold the cost could be thousands of dollars and if you made an appointment to see the same doctor in his office for the same problem it might only cost $200. . .

            The reasons are 1), cost of keeping a state of the art facility open 24/7 365 days a year staffed by highly trained and well paid (many union) workers and doctors (an emergency room might have $100,000,000 worth of equipment in it in a big city this equipment is replaced every few years with the older stuff going to the hospital itself and the oldest being sold to smaller places 2) the legal liability of the emergency room is enormous. One of the worse problems (from a point of view of law suits) is women going into labor. 3) because of fear of lawsuits many hospitals often order expensive and unnecessary tests. These are only a few of the factors which affect the cost of insurance. However, despite calls for reform in the laws that cover medical suits.(tort reform) nothing has been done to change them in decades in many states.

          • David

            Add to this the refusal to do any sort of Tort reform (reforming medical lawsuits, which the trail lawyers are against). And insurance companies are required to raise premiums to pay huge lawsuits and settlement and hospitals/doctors are required to do many unnecessary tests to protect themselves from being sued.

  • Eric0912

    Korean doctors like to prescribe a lot of unnecessary pills, for every little issue. I doubt privatization would offer any help to solve that major problem.

    • Jang

      Korean doctors also don’t care about their patients, if they did they’d be at the hospital taking care of them instead of in bed with pharmacists…

      “Doctors and Pharmacists Fiercely Protest…”

  • Eric0912

    And, as “a rich white person”, it’s great to fly to a semi-developed nation, pay the comparatively low medical fees, and cut the lines. I’m just glad I don’t have to pay those low fees with an average working class salary from that particular country.

    The European welfare systems are being crushed, not by the low medical fees, but by right-wing politicians refusing to spend the needed money (because they’ve cut taxes for the rich, privatized the cash-bringing national companies, and don’t anymore have that money to spend), thus making the systems so poor people have no other choice than to abandon them for private/foreign alternatives, making them even worse, and in the end killing them. Thanks a lot!

    Some people think there’s money to be made in everything (correction: that you SHOULD make money out of everything), and refuse to accept that there are some things that simply have to cost, healthcare and education being the more obvious ones, and unless you are an oil-rich nation built on slavery, that burden has to be shared.

    For the sake of Korea’s future, I strongly support those fighting doctors.

  • doopes

    The Globalist want to collect all medical data. That is the real reason behind privatization.

  • bumfromkorea

    Unregulated free market sounds nice… right up until you realize that the point of businesses is to make profit and not improve service/provide better products. And only naive, just-read-Ayn-Rand’s-crap-for-the-first-time-and-thinks-he-knows-everything-now idiots believe in the ironclad relationship between profit, competition, and better products/services.

  • Ignorance is Bliss

    This here is one of the most ignorant and dumb comment I have ever read:

    “example to become an eye doctor you may only need 2 years of training but government regulations forbid you from practicing medicine unless you have had 8 years of medical school in which you learn about heart problems, lung problems, bone problems, skin problems even though that is all completely irrelevant to you because you are going to be an eye doctor and will never need any of that.”

    The comments that’s coming out of “HaydenG” makes my blood boil hence my comment:
    If you, HaydenG, read this, you will not agree with me, since I have just made some personal attacks against you, but screw you, people need some less biased and stupid views than yours.

    An Ophthalmologist, would definitely need to go through the 5-7 ears of medicine and then take on a further study of 5 plus years to get his or her fellowship and hence, being allowed to be registered as a specialist. Why?

    You dumb (enter any choice of swear words that describes you). I will give you one of many examples:

    You have Glucoma and you are slowly and painfully going blind, what could be the possible causes, quick differential diagnosis list: Primary glucoma Vs secondary glucoma ( Diabetes, systemic hypertension etc.).
    Damn son, I only did my two years of uni just studying eyes, how do I treat diabetes and what are the possible causes of systemic hypertension and how do I, One, work it up further and, two, treat it?

    I don’t know cause I only know about eyes and not any other systems.

    Now you need a surgery on your eye, are you really going to get anesthetized and let the guy who studied for just two years on just eyes to perform a complicated surgery on your eye?

    TWO years, I am sure he would have had heaps and heaps of learning and experience to operate on my eyes, cause text books have pictures and stuff and teaches you everything about surgeries on the eyes. I am sure his hands would be used to all the instruments and the precision and will not shake during the operation.

    Okay, Surgery time. And let’s hope your anesthetist did more than TWO years to get his or her degree. Other wise you might not just lose vision, you will probably never wake up.

    Personally, a national health care is good. Australia and Canada etc might have a long waiting list for surgeries. ( I mean, you break an arm, yeah it hurts, they will give you some pain relief, but you are not going to die. Priority is given to the guy who just had a heart attack or car crash and is likely going to die. Same with surgeries, hence you get pushed back on the list). But it gets done at the end of the day, without you forking over thousands and thousands of dollars. A broken arm probably cost around 10 – 20,000 dollars to fix surgically, but if you are living in Aus at least you just wait for a few weeks and you will unlikely pay anything out of pocket. I am sure if you have the money and the insurance, your surgery can definitely be pushed forward.

    Why is the bill so huge?
    Surgeons (10+ years training, a specialist)
    Anesthetist (10+ years training, a specialist)
    Theatre fee
    Surgery fee
    Team of nurses and other helpers
    Medications and drugs
    Implants etc.
    indemnity insurance

    Who can afford to break an arm?

    If you want to look for a “free market” or capitalist approach towards health care, where there’s no safety net.
    Take a look at China, way more capitalist than America, if you don’t have the money to pay, you won’t be treated or admitted, full stop.
    If you do have the money, the world’s your oyster, You can choose whoever you like.
    yes, it can be cheaper, but is that what you want?

  • Tictac

    This week I got my nose broken, hit by the elbow of a Korean who obviously didn’t like foreigners.

    Now I need to go to the hospital to get X-Ray but whatever result I’ll have I won’t know what to do.

    The problem is, during the last 2 YEARS I’ve been recommended by korean doctors for surgery 2 TIMES for other injuries – and I actually didn’t need surgery! (I asked for advice to my home country’s doctor, didn’t do the surgery and everything is fine now).

    Thank you Korean government and Korean for-profit hospitals !
    (note: this last sentence is IRONY)

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