Every government has a duty to provide free health care for its people. What are the advantages and disadvantages of government providing free health care?
During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012 in London there was a presentation on the National Health Service (N.H.S) which is provided free to all citizens. The U.K is proud of this system and wanted to show it to the rest of the world.
Many people have financial problems and are unable to pay for a check-up and medication, so the availability of free health care will benefit the public. If citizens are entitled to free services they are more likely to use them, leading to improved health. This results in a healthy productive workforce and population which will ultimately be advantageous for a country. What is more, it keeps the fees of private doctors and clinics in check because people know they have an alternative.
On the other hand, tax payers are burdened with the cost of maintaining such a system. Doctors and medical staff need to be paid, equipment purchased, free medication given out and buildings maintained. This constitutes a large expense. Secondly, because services are provided for free, the system will not be efficient leading to waste. There is a lot more control of resources in the private sector where the aim is to make a profit. Hospitals which provide free health care like those in England tend to be understaffed with staff members working longer hours than they should to meet the great demand of patients. Exhausted staff will make more mistakes in a sector where an error can lead to a death. Finally, there are long waiting lists and delays in operations when care is free.
Although people’s health and pockets may benefit from free health care the government needs to consider whether it can economically support such a system.
Question taken from Focusing on IELTS Reading and Writing skills p.195