Why Korean healthcare is excellent but cheap

by Rahul Devi

The healthcare system plays a vital role in the well-being of a society. It serves as an indicator of how well a nation is doing overall. Unfortunately, the healthcare system in India faces numerous challenges. However, if there is one third-world country that stands out in terms of medical facilities, it is Korea.

Korea has not only saved thousands of lives but has also set an example for the rest of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite having a population larger than many developed nations, Korea has lost fewer lives to the virus compared to countries with advanced medical infrastructure.

One significant advantage of the Korean healthcare system is its affordability. Koreans pay less in taxes for healthcare compared to citizens of developed countries who also have to pay private insurance on top of that. This means that access to coverage in a country with “free healthcare” is not possible in these nations, despite the high fees.

The National Health Insurance Corporation, an agency of the Korean Ministry of Health and Wellness, provides national health insurance to all citizens. This insurance is funded by a payroll deduction of 5.06% from both the employee and employer’s monthly income. Most hospitals in Korea are privately owned, including the majority of healthcare professionals. This setup ensures that Koreans receive exemplary medical assistance.

In contrast, research shows that hospitalization for any illness in India is six times more expensive in a private facility than in a public one. The cost of medical care in private hospitals in Bengaluru was found to be 2-20 times higher than in public facilities. This stark contrast between public and private healthcare costs indicates a significant disparity in accessibility and affordability for the Indian population.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the importance of a healthy society for a strong economy. Healthy individuals tend to live longer, earn more, and save more money. According to research, countries should invest at least 6% of their GDP in healthcare. However, only 1.5% of India’s GDP is allocated to healthcare, a significantly lower percentage for a country with a population of approximately 1.3 billion. India has a long way to go in terms of providing accessible healthcare to all its citizens.

India can learn valuable lessons from Korea’s healthcare system in terms of affordability and quality. Taking cues from Korea’s successful model could help India improve its healthcare system and ensure better accessibility and quality of care for its citizens.

In conclusion, healthcare is a crucial component of a society’s well-being, and the effectiveness of a country’s healthcare system reflects how well that nation is doing. While India faces challenges in its healthcare system, there are examples like Korea that demonstrate how a third-world country can excel in providing medical facilities. India must strive to provide affordable and high-quality healthcare for all its citizens by investing more in the sector and learning from successful models like Korea.

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