The Scottish Government is set to describe its "unwavering" commitment to universal entitlements such as health care and travel benefits in a Holyrood debate.
Health Secretary Alex Neil will open a debate on the issue, less than two months since Labour raised its concern about whether some services are affordable.
Speaking before the debate, Mr Neil said: "The Scottish Government's commitment to maintain universal benefits is clear and unwavering. It is simply not right to tax ill health through prescription charging, not right for older people to spend time in hospital or be prematurely put in care homes due to a lack of support, or for adults to forego eye examinations due to the cost, while our concessionary travel scheme is boosting the quality of life of older and disabled people.
"These benefits are helping people throughout Scotland enjoy better health and fuller participation in society while research demonstrates the savings. Any debate around 'free' services must always keep in mind the real benefits that these policies deliver for people in Scotland."
In September, Labour leader Johann Lamont called for an end to a "something for nothing" culture. Taxes will have to rise or services will be cut to maintain popular but expensive SNP pledges on areas such as the council-tax freeze, she said.
Underlining the rapidly-expanding number of older people and the squeeze on finances, she said: "This is the stark choice that Scotland has to face up to: if we wish to continue some policies as they are then they come with a cost which has to be paid for either through increased taxation, direct charges or cuts elsewhere.
"If we do not confront these hard decisions soon, then the choice will be taken from us when we will be left with little options."
Labour set up a group to look at the economy and asked a university professor to help provide fully-costed policies. Ms Lamont, who signalled her policy shift in a speech in Edinburgh, referred to other work which already looked at how public services can be delivered with less money available.
The Christie Commission warned of difficult spending decisions and Lord Sutherland - the architect of free personal care for the elderly - indicated that cuts are inevitable unless taxes fill the gap.
Labour has said no decisions have been taken on future policy but all areas will be looked at, including centrally-imposed targets. The Scottish Government said that abolishing prescription charges means 600,000 adults under £16,000 income are no longer liable to pay.