South Korea: Hair loss emerges as new election issue ahead of March presidential vote

Lee Jae-myung has said he thinks hair regrowth treatments should be covered by the national health insurance program



Reuters file
Reuters file

By AP

Published: Thu 6 Jan 2022, 10:56 PM

South Korean presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung isn’t bald. But he is enjoying the support of many bald voters over his push for government payments for hair loss treatments.

Since his proposal was disclosed earlier this week, hair loss has emerged as a hot-button topic ahead of March’s presidential vote in South Korea, where previous elections have focused on North Korea’s nuclear program, relations with the US, scandals and economic problems.

Online communities for bald people are flooded with messages supporting his proposal. There is also strong criticism that it’s just a populism-driven campaign pledge by Lee, the governing party candidate, to win votes.

Messages on social media include, “Jae-myung bro. I love you. I’ll implant you in the Blue House” and “Your Excellency, Mr. President! You’re giving new hope to bald people for the first time in Korea.”

Lee told reporters on Wednesday that he thinks hair regrowth treatments should be covered by the national health insurance program.

“Please, let us know what has been inconvenient for you over hair-loss treatments and what must be reflected in policies,” Lee wrote on Facebook. “I’ll present a perfect policy on hair-loss treatment.”

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Currently, hair loss related to ageing and hereditary factors is not covered by the government-run insurance program. Hair loss treatments are only supported if the loss is caused by certain diseases.

Reports say one in every five South Koreans suffers from hair loss.


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