The respected Comrade
Several years ago, a social organization of a country published an article with the title of "Korea-the country of free medical care" on the Internet saying that "the mankind wished long time ago to create a happy life to the full and to enjoy it in good health, and such a desire was realized in Korea; the system of the complete and universal free medical care is the popular policy of public health care in Korea."
Our socialist public health care system in which the ordinary working people become the masters of state and society and enjoy the free medical care in case of sickness is praised by the international society more and more, so that our people recall warm-heartedly the immortal exploits of the President who put the age-old desire of people into reality in the difficult times of war with keeping the motto of believing in people as in heaven in his heart.
On January 20th, Juche 41(1952), when the fierce battles to defend every inch of the fatherland by blood were continued, the President called some medical officials including the minister of public health to his office and asked the percentage of doctor's fee paid by our people.
Officials who had expected to receive the instructions for the measures to cope with the germ atrocities of enemies were surprised by his question and could not answer off-handedly. After a while, an official reported as it was that the workers and office workers were enjoying the free medical care thanks to the national public insurance system, but farmers, private traders and manufacturers had to pay for the small amounts of outpatients' treatment fee, and the family members of workers and office workers had to pay 40 percent of the price for outpatients' treatment fee.
After a while, the President gave the teachings to enforce the system of the universal free medical care from the next year and mentioned that it was not a simple administrative and practical issue, but the very important political issue to fulfill the age-old desire of our people.
That time the officials couldn't believe themselves and looked face to face without a word. They were those who had run the private hospitals before the country's liberation and had to sell their own properties to cover the deficit due to cure the young children of poor people with sympathy, so they knew very well the financial burden of the universal free medical care. In addition, it was the during war which means a penny of money was so precious for the final victory, so that it was really beyond imagination to enforce the universal free medical care.
The President added to the officials who are in surprise and excitement that there would be nothing to spare for the people devoting themselves for the final victory of the war, both in the front and in the rear, and the system of the universal free medical care should be carried out for all the people, even though the state burden was too heavy. He went on that the senior officials of the ministry of public health should prepare for the financial budget and make the technical and material preparations, so as to be ready to enforce the system of the universal free medical care throughout the country as soon as possible. He gave the detailed task to speed up its preparation in a year.
But this did not work out smoothly at first. The alien elements in our ranks opposed viciously, saying ‘how it would be possible to carry out the task of the universal free medical care before the realization of the socialist transformation' and ‘what to do after the declaration of the system of the universal free medical care in the lack of doctors and medicaments'. On the other hand, there were some people worrying ‘is it a good way to postpone the enforcement of the universal free medical care due to the lack of money'.
At that time there was an opinion as well to reduce financial burden of state to separate the drugstores from the hospitals like other countries.
On October 2nd, Juche 41(1952), the President called again the official of the ministry of public health and acquainted himself with the preparation process for the enforcement of the universal free medical care and criticized strictly the tendency to separate drugstores from hospitals like other countries.
Actually, it was the old method only for money and the legacy of the Japanese imperialist colonial rule to separate drugstores from hospitals, and it was not the proper one to the traditional medical treatment of our country either. In our country it was the tradition that doctors made the diagnosis for patients and gave the medicine at the same place.
The President said cordially that it was not the right method to make a diagnosis and give a prescription in hospital and to get medicament at a drugstore due to the separation of drugstores from hospitals like in other countries causing patients to get worse, and such a doing would be harmful to our social system. He asked our doctors and pharmacists to give all the possible care for the health of our people taking the pains of patients as their own one.
At his words, the official could not hold his head up feeling guilty of his hesitation to the tendency to separate drugstores from hospitals like in other countries, only to seek for reducing the state financial burden, not upholding the high spirit of the President for the enforcement of the universal free medical care.
Later, always concerning about the preparations for the enforcement of the universal free medical care, the President even provided the necessary funds and took measures for the necessary materials.
Like this, under the energetic leadership and warm care of the President the state budget got much bigger than ever before the war and the number of beds in hospitals was as much as twice while the number of outpatient clinics got bigger than that before the war.
The President convened the 22nd plenary meeting of the Cabinet on November 13th Juche 41(1952) based on the complete preparation to enforce the universal free medical care and declared the decision of the Cabinet, No. 203 "To enforce the universal free medical care" throughout the northern half of the Republic next year.
Thanks to the declaration of the decision of the Cabinet No. 203, the legal guarantee was secured to enforce the universal free medical care in the difficult wartime, despite of lack of everything, which had never been done in any other countries.
The implementation of the universal free medical care during the wartime-it was the unique historical decision made by the President believing in people as in heaven and sparing nothing for the people.
Our people who enjoyed the benefits of the universal free medical care for the first time in human history gave thanks to the President from the bottom of their hearts. They made up their minds to defend the grateful fatherland by their blood and life and showed popular heroism to the full.
Thus, the age-old desire of our people to enjoy the free medical care was realized.