U.S. medical spending, already at $3 trillion, grew 5.5% last year, according to a study cited in The Wall Street Journal (Louise Radnofsky, U.S. Health-Spending Growth Jumped to 5.5% in 2014, WSJ, July 28, 2015). Soon, one of every five dollars spent in the U.S. will be on medical care. One likely consequence: employers will continue investing in wellness programs while offering only high-deductible insurance plans with steep out-of-pocket copays. If you’re going to get sick, and who isn’t, you better be well off.
I have a few questions for your consideration. After posing these questions, I’ll outline what the evidence suggests about each question. I’ll follow that with a discussion of what it all means for those who want to enjoy quality lifestyles guided by reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty.
Here are the questions:
One of my favorite Ingersoll passages—and I have so many (e.g., nearly everything he wrote or expressed in an oration!) occurs in his moving tribute to his brother Ebon Ingersoll (May 31, 1879):
… Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks oftwo eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights.
FISH (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
FishThis life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
My idea is to get what little happiness you can out of this life. We should enjoy all the happiness that breaks through the clouds of misfortune. Life is poor enough at best. No one should fail to pick up every jewel of joy that can be found in his path. Everyone should be as happy as he can, provided he is not happy at the expense of another, and no person rightly constituted can be happy at the expense of another.