A proposal by South Korean presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung to allow public health insurance to cover hair loss treatment has met with mixed reactions.
Stoking both cheers from some voters and criticism of his populist platform, it sparked a heated debate in the country.
Lee Jae-myung, the Democratic Party’s flag bearer, made the pledge, saying that nearly 10 million people suffer from hair loss, but many of them order drugs abroad or resort to the prostate drugs as an alternative due to the high treatment costs.
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Since his proposal was leaked earlier this week, hair loss has become a hot topic ahead of the March presidential vote in South Korea, where previous elections have focused on North Korea’s nuclear program. relations with the United States, scandals and economic problems.
Lee Jae-myung is not bald. But he enjoys the support of many bald voters for his efforts to promote government payments for hair loss treatment.
Online communities for bald people are inundated with messages supporting his proposal.
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“Let’s implant Lee Jae-myung for us,” one user wrote, responding to a Lee slogan article about hair loss uploaded to an online hair loss community.
There are also strong criticisms that this is just a populist-driven campaign pledge by ruling party candidate Lee to win votes.
Lee Sang-ee, professor at the medical school of Jeju National University, said national health insurance could falter if it spends hundreds of billions of won to cover hair loss when it is designed to help people with serious illnesses.
Currently, hair loss related to aging and hereditary factors is not covered by the government administered insurance program. Treatments for hair loss are only covered if the hair loss is caused by certain diseases.
(With contributions from agencies)