Rival political parties wrangled Friday over the government's push to deregulate the medical industry amid growing opposition criticism that the move is a scheme to privatize health services.
The criticism has grown following President Park Geun-hye's press conference on Monday, in which she stressed her resolve to revive the economy by deregulating the medical industry and other services sectors, among other measures.
The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) has vowed to block the move, claiming it will lead to the commercialization of medical services.
"Approaching medical treatments as an industry that just needs to make more money is the type of thinking of pariah capitalism," DP chairman Kim Han-gil said at a Supreme Council meeting. "Medical commercialization will inevitably lead to higher medical expenses for the people."
The ruling Saenuri Party rejected the accusation as a politically motivated ploy ahead of the nationwide local elections in June.
"Allowing medical corporations to set up subsidiaries and operate telemedical services does not make treatments more expensive and the DP knows very well that it has nothing to do with privatizing medical services, and yet they are exploiting it for the upcoming local elections and their political schemes," Choi Kyoung-hwan, the floor leader of the ruling party, said at a meeting of key party officials.
"Privatization is when the government or public organizations sell what they have to the public. Deregulation of medical services has nothing to do with privatization." (Yonhap News)