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Presidential candidate pledges free hair loss treatment to bald voters

South Korea’s ruling party presidential candidate sparked a debate after suggesting that the country’s public healthcare insurance should cover hair loss treatment.

As people suffering from hair loss showed support for Lee Jae-Myung’s proposal, another section prompted accusations that it was a bad attempt to win votes.

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Lee said almost 10 million people suffer from hair loss but many of them order medicines from overseas or resort to prostate drugs as an alternative due to high treatment costs.

He told reporters that hair regrowth treatments should be covered by the national health insurance programme.

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

Lee’s party arranged a meeting late on Wednesday with voters suffering from hair loss.

Jeong Da-Eun, a mother of two, told the meeting that she gave up medical treatment as it required a spend of KSh 385,000 over six months, resorting to a good shampoo and food instead.

However, Lee’s pledge brought criticism too, with the opposition calling it the latest item on Lee’s populist agenda.

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“Lee’s idea may appear to be a necessary step for many people worrying about their hair loss but it’s nothing but serious populism, given that it would worsen the financial stability of the state insurance program,” the conservative Munhwa Ilbo newspaper said.

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