Vail Daily letter: When your time’s up
Vail, CO, Colorado
The bad news first: We are all going to die at some point, and the process of dying in the United States is very expensive. However, the good news is that this fact of life need not bankrupt our health-care system unless we continue to allow it to do so.
By some estimates, approximately 75 percent of the total amount of money an individual spends on health care during his or her lifetime will be spent in the last few months of life. Taken all together, a vast sum of money too often allocated to heroic, costly and ineffective experimental efforts that society can ill-afford that tend to prolong misery and discomfort for the patient rather than add any quality of life.
In this country, the current average life expectancy for men is 76 years and for women 81 years, and it makes good sense for everyone to have access to health insurance at a reasonable cost that would be in force over the course of their average life expectancy.
However, society should give serious consideration to my idea that upon reaching that average age insurance ends, and individuals would have to pay for all future medical care out of their own savings rather than contributing to the eventual bankruptcy of the entire health-care system. An existing and very popular model for this concept is term life insurance.
For the many souls who fervently believe in a life hereafter, death only marks the transition from one life to another one. For those who believe that our life here on Earth is the only existence we will ever lead, death simply means an end to the party and “carpe diem” takes on a whole new meaning.