SEOUL, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) – Doctors warned Friday they may stage a rally or a walkout in April in protest against the government’s “unilateral” medical policy.
According to the Korean Medical Association, the doctors are planning to take collective action against so-called Moon Jae-in Care, which the government says is focused on providing comprehensive medical services to the general public at reasonable prices.
“We are committed to blocking Moon Jae-in Care even if it means halting medical treatment,” Choi Dae-jib, a president-elect of the association, told reporters in Seoul. He added any blame from actions taken will rest solely with the government and the health ministry.
The association did not reveal details about the planned action, but it could be either a rally, a full-day walkout or a half-day walkout.
Many in the medical profession have been opposed to the 30.6 trillion-won ($27.9 billion) plan that will be implemented in stages up till 2022. The government is aiming to greatly expand National Health Insurance coverage for most medical treatment, which includes various medical procedures and tests.
Doctors have complained that policymakers are railroading the plan without proper consultation with those in the medical service field and without regards for how the program will be funded in the long term. They have also claimed that expanding insurance coverage will eventually lead to deteriorating services for patients going forward.
The latest objections raised by doctors come as the government will start implementing the policy to cover ultrasounds of the upper abdomen with the national health insurance Sunday.