Health Care Reform Under Progressive Governments in Korea; and Late Life Inequality in Health, Work, and Economic Resources in Korea

Thursday, May 7, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room

This seminar will feature two presentations: an attempt to evaluate the impact of health policy under a decade of progressive governments in Korea; and an investigation into the health and economic well-being of the elderly in Korea. The presenters will be Dr. Byongho Tchoe, a 2008-09 visiting scholar at Stanford University, and Dr. Young Kyung Do, the inaugural postdoctoral fellow in the Asia Health Policy Program at Stanford.

Korea achieved universal health care coverage in 1989 only twelve years after the introduction of social health insurance under an authoritarian government. In 1992 a civil government won the presidential election. Consistent with a conservative ideology oriented toward market principles and globalization, that government emphasized competitive principles in health care policy. However, at the end of 1997 in the face of economic crisis, the progressive party won the Korean presidential election; their health emphasized strengthening equity, redistribution, and regulation of providers’ rent seeking behavior. Under successive progressive governments from 1998 to 2007, ambitious health policy reforms integrated insurers, separated prescribing from dispensing, reformed provider payment, expanded benefits coverage, increased medical-aid enrollees, and increased the role of government providers in the health care market. But in the election of 2007, they were defeated by a conservative party, which insists that competition among insurers and providers will enhance efficiency and quality in health care, and stresses consumer choice and responsibility.

Dr. Tchoe's talk will attempt to evaluate impact of health care policy under a decade of progressive governments in Korea. Although equity in both access to care and financial responsibility appear to be enhanced, there is controversy about whether the policies were cost-effective or improved health, and what will happen as the new government repeals regulations in the health care market. The return of economic crisis also brings renewed urgency to debates of economic and social policy.

Byongho Tchoe is a 2008-09 visiting scholar at Stanford University. After working at the Korea Development Institute from 1983 to 1995, he took up his current post with the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. He has been influential in formulating health and social policy in Korea, having served as an advisor to the minister of health and social welfare and participated in many task forces and committees. In 2007, he was awarded a National Medal in honor of 30 years achievement related to Korea’s National Health Insurance. He has published many articles and books and served as president of the Korean Association of Health Economics and Policy and as vice president of the Korea Association of Social Security. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Seoul National University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Georgia.

Young Kyung Do is the inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow in Asia Health Policy Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. He completed his Ph.D. in health policy and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health in August 2008. He has also earned M.D. and Master of Public Health degrees from Seoul National University (in 1997 and 2003, respectively). He earned board certification in preventive medicine from the Korean Medical Association in 2004. He received the First Prize Award in the Graduate Student Paper Competition in the Korea Labor and Income Panel Study Conference in 2007. He also is the recipient of the Harry T. Phillips Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Doctoral Student from the UNC Department of Health Policy and Administration in 2007. In May 2008, he was selected as a New Investigator in Global Health by the Global Health Council.