Health Care versus Car Care

In this post, metafilter has recently asked why, if car insurance doesn’t pay for oil changes, should universal health care pay for medical check ups?

I think the mistake here is to think it would be more expensive to insure your car if the cost of changing the oil was built in. This is almost certainly false – if you take for granted that throwing out cars well before 200 000 km is a huge waste of resources, and very expensive (because the purchase cost per km of the car skyrockets), the cost of not having your oil changed is higher than the cost of having your oil changed. Thus, if oil changes were included in car insurance, overall costs to car owners would be less.

This is a good argument, I think, because unlike cars we can’t throw out our bodies and buy new ones after 50 000km (in which case it makes sense not to change the oil as often, because the long term health of the engine is simply irrelevant).


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