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Fri Sep 4, 2020, 02:42 AM

Doctors Strike in South Korea During Pandemic

Last edited Fri Sep 4, 2020, 09:19 AM - Edit history (1)

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(Source- 열린공감TV youtube, 8.31) 터졌다! 의사 파업 진짜 이유! 돈 받아먹었다! Disclosed, the real reason for the strike! We took the money.<br />

The current strike by medical residents and doctors in South Korea during the resurgence of the corona virus epidemic statewide is the latest in bizarre opposition tactics by the far right in South Korea. The true nature of the strike and the reasons for it are misrepresented in conservative media in South Korea and the US. Articles such as the one below by Reuters fail to include the history or political context of this otherwise implausible strike and the unreasonable refusal of leaders of Korean medical organizations to suspend the strike during negotiations with the government:

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea ordered doctors in the Seoul area to return to work on Wednesday as they began a three-day strike in protest of several government proposals, including one to boost the number of doctors to deal with health crises like the coronavirus...


...The strikes come as South Korea battles one of its worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, with 320 new cases reported in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday, the latest in more than a week and a half of triple-digit increases.

The walkouts on Wednesday forced South Korea’s five major general hospitals to limit their hours and delay scheduled surgeries, Yonhap news agency reported.*


*South Korea orders striking doctors back to work amid surge in coronavirus cases: Sangmi Cha, Josh Smith, August 25;
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-southkorea/south-korea-orders-striking-doctors-back-to-work-amid-surge-in-coronavirus-cases-idUSKBN25M048

There are obviously stressful conditions on residents and other doctors working in clinics and hospitals throughout South Korea as a resurgence in corona virus infections prompted largely by deliberately non-compliant churches, in particular the so called Love First Church led by far right demagogue, Jeon Gwang-hun. Government indemnity claims against Jeon now total 20 billion won for costs of patient treatment and public health measures. However, the stated grievances for the medical strike adversely affecting medical services in South Korea now, particularly at larger hospitals, are largely opportunistic and pretextual. The health reforms proposed to be implemented by the Moon Jae-in administration have been in the works since medical studies on the deficiencies in the national health system began in 2013. Studies by the Seoul National University medical school, in 2013 and 2015 during the conservative Park Geun-hye administration recommended virtually the same policy measures the Moon administration now proposes to implement.


(Source- 열린공감TV youtube, 8.31) "Because doctor's livelihoods are being made impossible..."

The measures from the current administration aim at creation of a state medical college and a substantial expansion in the number of medical school graduates by four thousand doctors over a ten year period. The expansion in the number of doctors is directed at alleviating a serious shortage of health care providers in the countryside as opposed to large cities. Medical students attending the state medical training program would be required to provide medical services in the countryside for ten years. It is said that newly licensed doctors have no desire to move to more rural venues to provide health care because of the lack of "career development." Critics of the medical strike by residents and doctors in South Korea during the resurgence of the corona virus say the providers are acting as a special interest just "protecting their rice bowl." However the timing of the strike in current public health emergency circumstances in the face of a resurgence of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic is extremely suspect. The real goal is a cynical political desire to bring down the Moon administration by allowing the current resurgence in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic to spread across South Korea.

The strike is being carried out as a political vendetta against the reform minded democratic administration of Moon Jae-in. According to one investigative news source, a substantial number of senior physicians, and university medical doctors responsible for the education and training of the residents, and other providers have been under investigation by the police, for violations of anti corruption laws which prohibit receiving gifts, rebates, or other unlawful compensation from drug companies aimed at promoting sales by illegal means. The scope of the investigation is large, and has already found tens of millions of dollars in unlawful compensation, rebates, gifts and other favors from pharmaceutical companies paid to medical providers since 2016.

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(Source: Media:gate News, 3.23.18) Choe Tae-jib, the current President of the Korean Medical Association, conservative activist linked to the far right Taeguki movement in the past. Choi once said he would risk imprisonment to bring down "Moon Jae-in care." The Korean Medical Association and the Association of Medical Residents left the table and went back on strike, despite achieving an agreement in which proposed measures would be suspended and subject to further negotiations until the current pandemic outbreak abated and public health conditions stabilized.

Among the prohibited practices are pharmaceutical companies paying physicians' medical study abroad; attendance at conferences abroad with all expenses paid; cash rebates; paying active hospital providers and clinicians to represent the companies abroad; golf tourneys, expensive dinners, etc. Hospital administrators, pharmacists, drug company salesman, drug wholesalers, and importers, are also subject to the "Sunshine Act." Potential criminal penalties are two years in prison, a 30 million won fine, and one year suspension of medical license. The proceeds of corrupt rebates and other illegal compensation from drug companies can also be seized by the government. Apart from encouraging this strike, targeted providers have procured high priced legal representation to stall the investigations as long as possible either to exceed the statute of limitations or wait until the current administration is replaced in 2022. If a right wing administration came to power these cases would likely disappear. It is anticipated that a resurgence of the epidemic in South Korea would have an adverse affect on the fortunes of the incumbent democratic party.

So the current government is labeled as "fascist" by the medical community because of pending police investigation into their widespread corruption. Apparently the Korean Medical Association views extensive record keeping requirments and investigations to eliminate medical corruption as "totalitarian." Beyond that, promoting a public medical university education to produce additional doctors with a view toward terms of service in the countryside is regarded as "communism."


(Source- 열린공감TV youtube, 8.31) So the citizens are unaware of the matter (at hand), the professionals cover it up. Picture shows Korean Medical Association President, Choe Thae-jib smashing his head on the podium in the negotiation conference room.

Senior doctors are not openly encouraging the strike, but their organization left the negotiating table saying the government "couldn't be trusted." Choe Tae-jib, ( 최대집 ) the President of the Korean Medical Association, said when he was running for that office that he would do everything he could including the most extreme tactics like a general strike, no matter what the sacrifices were to bring down "Moon Jae-in care." In other words his admitted objective is to destroy the current health care system in South Korea, which had been so successful until just recently in protecting public health in South Korea. Choe Tae-jib, has a known right wing resume, having supported the far right Taeguki movement and being active in other conservative movements for years.*

* 의협회장 당선자 최대집은 누구…"문재인 케어 저지, 민노총 수준 강한 투쟁" Medi:Gate News, 8.03.23 20:11최종 업데이트 18.03.24 09:45;
http://www.medigatenews.com/news/2109458116

Much like the scholar strikes and demonstrations outside the palace gates, which would immobilize the old Chosun dynasty in contentious times, there are always actors behind the scenes motivating their subordinates to carry out the actions to paralyze the government. Poisoning the well is an old Korean political strategy sure to serve as an evil omen to spread public fear and weaken, if not overthrow the presiding ruler. After the intentional infliction of the second wave of corona virus epidemic on South Korea by right wing fundamentalist demagogues intentionally violating public health rules, the general medical strike is the follow up punch choreographed by the right wing medical doctors and their sponsors unwilling to submit to the rule of law under a freely elected democratic government.

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