Citizenship under the traditional nation-state was strongly tied tonationality, thus granting basic rights only to natives and limitingrights to foreigners. However, as we witness an increasing amountof migration and the enforcement of international human rightsregimes, an expansion of citizenship is required to guarantee rightsto those living away from their state of nationality. Such anexpansion of citizenship seeks to bestow human rights to foreignersregardless of their nationality.
This study takes particular interest in a specific type of humanrights- the right to access health care. We have analyzed the coursein which the Korean National Health Insurance has expanded itscoverage to foreigners, along with a special interest in the nature ofthe ‘citizenship’ these foreigners were given. As a result, it wasshown that the health insurance system continued to encompass awider set of foreigners to the point where in 2019, all legallyresiding foreigners were obliged to sign up to health care. Thisseems to make us think that notion of citizenship is being separated from nationality, thus allowing foreigners to claim rights equal tothe natives. However, a closer analysis suggests the opposite.
Foreigners were invited into the health care system due to practicalneeds of the nation-state such as demand for labor or a source ofrevenue for the insurance system.
Nonetheless, this study seeks to find potential of expanding thescope of citizenship particularly in the social insurance systemowing to its inherent characteristics. The recipient's own contributionvia the insurance premium and principles of social solidarity allowfor citizenship, at least in this particular field, to seek an expansionof citizenship to foreigners.