Spike: Winning Mega Millions would pay the bills, but is it reasonable?

Jan 5, 2023, 1:31 PM

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FILE - A person holds a Mega Millions lottery ticket in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. An estimated $785 million Mega Millions jackpot set for Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023 will give lottery players a chance to start the new year with a lucrative bang. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The lottery jackpot is huge once again, with tens of thousands of people clambering at the latest Mega Millions haul sitting at $940 million, the sixth-largest prize in history. The odds of winning? Just one in 302.6 million.

No one won the big prize Tuesday, and the next drawing is scheduled to happen Friday for people to get another chance at the big jackpot prize.

On KIRO Nights, Spike O’Neill spoke about the massive prize and how much of a difference it would make in the lives of whoever won it – instantly making them one of the wealthiest people in the country.

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“Can you imagine just one day, one ticket, handing you a lifetime’s worth of work and effort and worry and toil? In one little ticket,” Spike said. “That’s why people play. My wife won’t let me play the lottery. My wife says we need our luck to be about important things like our health and the health of our family. She’s not a big believer in using luck for money.”

For Spike, the value of health is immeasurably more important than wealth, but he also acknowledged the importance money can have in America for those that need medical services.

“I’ve got a very dear friend who’s battling cancer, and he was able to have the resources to seek the best treatment in the country and to put himself in a position to have the best chance to win in this fight with cancer,” Spike said. “But a lot of people don’t have the chance to do that. A lot of people don’t have the chance to seek even adequate health care to stop the onset of diabetes or heart disease.”

According to the latest 2022 National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA), U.S. healthcare spending grew 2.7% in 2021, reaching $4.3 trillion or $12,914 per person – about 18.3% of the GDP of the country. When compared to other countries using the World Bank’s statistics, the U.S. spends more money on healthcare than almost any other country on the planet.

“There are countries across the globe that have universal health care. Countries where it doesn’t matter what you make for a living; your health is covered. There are countries where education is covered,” Spike said. “Do you want to pay 29% tax plus pay for all your health care out of pocket, plus pay for all your education out of pocket? Or do you want to pay 45% in tax and both those things covered?”

A lot of Americans have to cut their personal spending to afford medical care, some hoping for outright miracles, like one in 302.6 million kinds of miracles. A poll from August by Gallup shows that one in four adults have had to skip care or medicine due to rising costs and two-fifths are concerned about affording care in the next six months.

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“When someone goes in for a checkup or a procedure, and they’re as worried about how they’re going to pay for it as there are blockages in their arteries, how is that the best way for us to go forward? Does that make me a socialist? I don’t know,” Spike said. “If I just won a billion dollars, I don’t worry about any of this crap, but I’m not going to win because I’m not going to play because, as a texter pointed out, ‘Spike, your wife is right. Health is more valuable than wealth.'”

So use your luck if you can to stay healthy, and if not, you can hope for some astronomical fortune when you buy your next lottery ticket.

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Spike: Winning Mega Millions would pay the bills, but is it reasonable?