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IELTS Writing Sample #103

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

The costs of medical health care are increasing all the time. Governments are finding it difficult to balance the health care budget.

Should citizens be totally responsible for their own health costs and take out private health insurance, or is it better to have a comprehensive health care system which provides free health services for all? Discuss.

You should write at least 250 words.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

model answer:

A much debated issue these days is whether citizens should take out private health insurance or not. The cost of providing free medical care for both the wealthy and the poor is far too great for any government, and most people agree that if you can pay for insurance, you should. In this essay, I will argue that all who can afford it should be insured, but free medical care must be made available for those too poor to do so.

The most important reason for encouraging people to take out private health insurance is the cost to the government of health care. Free health cover for people who are able to pay for it is a waste of public money. Of course, people will only pay health insurance premiums if they know that they are getting good value for their money. If they get sick, they should pay very little or nothing at all. In addition, the privately insured are entitled to special benefits such as having the choice of their own doctors, and being able to avoid long waiting lists for hospital beds.

On the other hand, those who really cannot afford to pay private insurance premiums, which are often very high, are still entitled as citizens to the best medical care available they cannot be expected to pay their own medical bills. However, if they are working, they should still pay a percentage of their wage (say 1 to 2%) as a tax which pays towards the cost of providing "free" medical services.

In conclusion, most people should privately insure their health, but it is unreasonable to suppose that all citizens can afford it. Therefore, a safety net in the form of a basic free health care system must exist for the very poor and the unemployed.

(300 words)