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$3 Trillion Trip to the Moon!

Tower of MoneyTry to imagine one trillion dollars.

The significance of this number is…well, mind-boggling! Just add 12 zeroes after the number one and you quickly get the point. It would be laughable to try to stash this amount in your billfold, purse or any other safe location.

Here’s another perspective. If you stacked one trillion $1 bills on top of each other, it would extend 68,000 miles into the sky – one third of the way to the moon! Or let’s say you won the lottery and received $1 million a day for the next 2,000 years – you would have ‘only’ collected three-quarters of $1 trillion.* What a great incentive to live healthier!

It was just a matter of time before our nation would reach the $3 trillion milestone in healthcare spending – $3.03 trillion to be exact. Using my quick math, we would now be able to reach the moon.

This milepost was met in 2014, but due to calculation lag, we recently learned this news in December from Health Affairs, authored by the Office of the Actuary, an independent arm of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Three trillion translates into about $9,525 per person spent for healthcare in our country.

In 2014, healthcare represented 17.5 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), up from 17.3 percent in 2013. Healthcare spending most likely will reach one-fifth of our GDP during the next decade.

So what’s next – Mars? After all, when the earth and Mars are on the same side of the Sun, we are within spitting distance of 34 million miles – or just a mere $500 trillion!

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* According to a noted Temple University math professor, John Allen Paulos.