Press Release

Health and Welfare Forum, November, Published

  • Date 2023-01-26
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KIHASA has published Health and Welfar Forum, November, No. 313.

Foreword: 2023 Should Be the Year that Lays a Foundation for a Sustainable Welfare State

Article I: "The 2023 Outlook for Health Care Policy," Kang, Hee-Chung, KIHASA

In 2023, despite the prospects of the easing if COVID-19 restrictions and returning to a normal way of life, the household situation is expected to worsen due to interest rate hikes and the continuing high inflation. The government announced in its 2022-2026 National Fiscal Management Plan that it would pursue fiscal soundness management and a highly intensive expenditure restructuring. A decline in household real income could lead to a lowering of the average health level of the people and a deepening of health inequality by reducing health-beneficial spending and the resilience of the low-income households. Korea controls the quality, accessibility, and cost of its health care system through a single health insurance system that applies to all citizens. If health insurance spending reform and health policy are not interconnected enough, the achievements of health promotion in the past may regress. Health care policy in 2023 needs innovation that is more responsive to the people's economic difficulties and achieves efficient spending. Innovation towards a value-based health care system, which has remained in the discourse in the face of inertial resistance from the health care system, is a dual-handed strategy that not only controls unnecessary expenditures in a government austerity but also improves the health performance of the health care system.

Article II: "The 2023 Outlook for Income Security Policy," Kim, Tae-wan, KIHASA

This article deals with changes in the income security system that are likely to occur in 2023 and issues that require attention in this regard. A survey by the National Statistical Office projects that income gradually will recover as the years 2021 and 2022 elapse. However, business income is still in decline, and employers and the self-employed have yet to fully recover. The changes that are likely to take place this year in the income security system are as follows. First, adjustments may be implemented to the property standards of the basic livelihood security system. Second, changes are planned for the labor incentives and earned income credit tax (EITC) for the working poor, and the Seoul Safe Income Pilot Project is also a change to take note of. Third, parental benefits will be introduced for children, and the reform of the national pension, which is the main means of securing old-age income, will also be discussed in depth. In addition, the establishment of relationships with other old-age income security measures should be reviewed. Lastly, household debt measures should be prepared for the poor, who are vulnerable to interest rate hikes.

Article III: "The 2023 Outlook for Social Service Policy," Kang, Eun-Na; Ahn, Suran; Lee, Sang-Jeong; and Lee, Hannah, KIHASA

Since its inauguration in 2022, the Yoon Seok-Yeol government has been pursuing a policy of innovating private sector-led social services under the principle “welfare for the weak.” This article aims to examine the prospects and main tasks of the Yoon Seok-Yeol government’s social policy, focusing on the national agenda items. This article addresses the background and progress in population-group-specific social service policies for children, the elderly, and the disabled. Also, the paper discusses key policy tasks and significant issues to improve social service policies in Korea.

Article IV: "The 2023 Outlook for Population Policy," Lee, Soyoung, KIHASA

The decrease in the number of births, the natural decrease in the population, and the aging of the population are important social phenomena that affect every sector of Korean society. Policy intervention is essential in a situation where changes in the population structure and size are becoming fixed and even exacerbated. This article summarizes the demographic changes and changes in population policy in Korea and suggests directions for future population policy. The year 2023 is a critical time to reorganize and adjust the population policy. It is necessary to implement policies systematically and flexibly so that priorities can be set, adjusted and modified in line with the trends in demographic structure and the scale of socioeconomic shocks. Population policy for 2023 should be implemented effectively by specifying the new government’s five population strategies within the paradigm of the 4th Low Fertility and Aging Society Basic Plan to prepare for a shrinking society with a declining and aging population.

Article V: "The 2023 Outlook for the Policy Consultation System in the Social Security Sector," Ham, Young Jin, KIHASA

Since it was instituted in 2013 with the aim of integrating and adjusting welfare policies sporadically designed and implemented by various central ministries and local governments in the social security sector, the social security consultation system has contributed to establishing the basic framework of national social security policy. However, problems arise continuously, such as intervention in the autonomy of local governments, complexity of the consultation process, and increased work burden on the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which is the subject of consultation. Therefore, in this paper, the need for central-level support was suggested to specify the projects to be consulted, strengthen the role of regional governments, digitalize the consultation process, and strengthen the policy design capacity of the person in charge of the project. The consultation system has become more critical as various welfare benefits are introduced to respond to changing welfare needs and solve problems. However, given that no system is perfect, the consultation system requires continuous and constructive institutional improvements.

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