Close Close

Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

The real price of a hangover

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

I’m not a big fan of the Fourth of July.

(I want to clarify first that I do, however, love America. It’s great. We eat hot dogs here and watch baseball and one of my  favorite Americans created Mickey Mouse, so I’m pretty excited about all that.)

The reason I’m not a fan is the same reason I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Eve — it’s usually just one more excuse for my American friends to get drunk and be stupid (don’t believe me? Weekly liquor sales often surpass $1 billion around Independence Day).

I’m all for some wine or beer consumption occasionally — er, most days — but I like it how I like most things — in moderation.

Because without it, we all pay.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive drinking costs the economy more than $220 billion — or about $1.90 per drink. While a huge chunk of the costs come from lost workplace productivity — 72 percent — another 11 percent come from health care expenses. (Other costs come from law enforcement, crime and car wrecks.)

Here’s the worst part: Uncle Sam picks up 62 percent of the health care tab connected with alcohol abuse.

Oh, and it’s only the binge-boozing 15 percent of the population that’s responsible for three-quarters of alcohol consumed.

I feel like it’s pretty safe to say that most people know — though largely ignore — the common sense that drinking too much isn’t good for your health. But I’ll give you a couple facts anyhow: 

According to the CDC, drinking too much causes 80,000 deaths in the United States each year and contributes to more than 54 different injuries and diseases. The chance of getting sick and dying from alcohol problems increases significantly for those who binge drink more often and drink more when they do.

So please, when you think about slamming that fifth cold one and think it’ll just cost a few brain cells, a non-pounding head, and probably some integrity, think again. You’re actually making everyone pay — and of course, being pretty damn stupid about your health.

And that’s not very American.

For more from Kathryn Mayer, see:

What my mother taught me about health care

Meet the woman tasked with selling PPACA

Surviving the negativity challenge


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.