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Health-Care Reform in Korea

Listed author(s):
  • Randall S. Jones


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    Korea’s health-care system has contributed to the marked improvement in health conditions, while limiting spending to one of the lowest levels in the OECD through high patient co-payments and limited coverage of public health insurance. However, spending is now increasing at the fastest rate in the OECD. With continued upward pressure, not least from rapid population ageing, it is essential to boost efficiency by reforming the payment system, reducing drug expenditures, shifting long-term care out of hospitals, promoting healthy ageing and introducing gatekeepers. As the heavy reliance on social insurance payments for health will be an increasing drag on employment as the population ages, it is necessary to raise the share of tax-based financing in conjunction with effective measures to keep spending in check. Measures to ensure adequate access for low-income households are a priority given the high out-of-pocket payments. Quality should be improved by enhancing transparency, promoting restructuring in the hospital sector and expanding the number of doctors. La réforme des soins de santé en Corée Le système de santé coréen a contribué à la nette amélioration de l’état de santé de la population, tout en limitant les dépenses à un niveau qui compte parmi les plus faibles de la zone de l’OCDE, les deux facteurs qui ont joué à cet égard étant la forte participation financière du patient et la couverture limitée de l’assurance-maladie publique. Néanmoins, les dépenses augmentent actuellement au rythme le plus rapide de la zone de l’OCDE. La tendance à la hausse étant appelée à se poursuivre, en particulier à cause du vieillissement rapide de la population, il est indispensable d’accroître l’efficience en réformant le système de paiement, en réduisant les dépenses pharmaceutiques, en ne confiant plus aux hôpitaux les soins de longue durée, en favorisant le vieillissement en bonne santé et en mettant en place un filtrage pour l’accès aux soins. Puisque, du fait du vieillissement de la population, le poids accordé aux paiements d’assurances sociales pour le financement du système de santé constituera de plus en plus un frein pour l’emploi, il est important d’accroître la part du financement de source fiscale. Il faut prioritairement assurer un accès correct des ménages à bas revenu, étant donné le niveau élevé des versements directs. Il faudrait améliorer la qualité des soins en instaurant plus de transparence, en favorisant la restructuration du secteur hospitalier et en augmentant les effectifs de médecins.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 797.

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    Date of creation: 02 Jul 2010
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:797-en
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