Hair loss emerges as new election issue in South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung is bald. But he has the support of many bald voters who are pushing for government payments for hair loss treatments.

Since its proposal was published earlier this week, hair loss has become a hot topic ahead of South Korea’s presidential election in March, with previous elections focusing on North Korea’s nuclear program, US relations, scandals and economic problems.

Online bald communities are inundated with messages in support of his proposal. It has also been heavily criticized for being just a populism-driven campaign promise by Lee, the ruling party’s candidate, to win votes.

News on social media includes, “Jae-myung bro. I love you. I will implant you in the Blue House ”and“ Your Excellency, Mr. President! For the first time in Korea they give new hope to bald people. “

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

“Please tell us what you found uncomfortable about hair loss treatment and what needs to be reflected in the guidelines,” Lee wrote on Facebook. “I will present a perfect guideline for treating hair loss.”

Lee, an outspoken liberal, leads opinion polls. Some critics have labeled him a dangerous populist.

“(Lee’s idea) may seem like a necessary step to many people concerned about their hair loss, but it is nothing more than serious populism as it would worsen the financial stability of the state insurance program,” said the conservative newspaper Munhwa Ilbo to the editorial office Thursday.

Currently, age-related hair loss and hereditary hair loss are not covered by the state insurance program. Hair loss treatments are only supported if the loss is caused by specific diseases.

According to reports, one in five South Koreans suffers from hair loss.

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