Obamacare architect explains why he wants to die at 75: ‘Living too long is also a loss’

Between revelations of collusion and censorship documented in the “Twitter Files” and ever-changing public policy in the name of combatting COVID that seemingly favored politics over medical science, it’s no wonder that faith in the medical community has deteriorated.

Years after authoring the “complete lives system,” Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s plan to die at 75 has resurfaced and his lasting and continuing impact on public health suggests that might be more than just a decision he’s tried to make for himself.

The 65-year-old Emanuel, an influential architect in the creation of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and the brother to former President Barack Obama’s one-time chief of staff and former mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, has continued his work in the federal government as a member of President Joe Biden’s COVID response team.

He recently sat down with The Times and revisited his 2014 essay published in The Atlantic, “Why I Hope To Die At 75,” with that mark now ten years out and the average life span of Americans now 77.

“There is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss,” he wrote. “It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived.”

As interviewer Helen Rumbelow wrote, “He wants to be clear-eyed about when his own ‘consumption’ exceeds his ‘contribution’. Here he edges closer to what ethicists call the ‘duty to die’ argument, the harsh utilitarian idea that the non-useful need to sling their hook. For someone as energetic and ambitious as him, passivity is clearly terrifying.”

“This is, he insists, not a policy but a personal choice, informed by close study of the aged,” Rumbelow continued. “William Osler, a doctor and Oxford professor, wrote in 1892 that pneumonia was the ‘natural end of the old man’, which is where the nickname ‘old man’s friend’ for pneumonia was born (Osler died aged 70 in the Spanish flu epidemic). Emanuel would similarly rather go quickly, at home.”

Fearing dementia more than anything, he argued Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci were outliers as “Every time he talks about his plan almost everyone’s first reaction is to say 75 is too young and to cite super-agers they know…’We can’t all be outliers.'”

It’s important to note how the lines between personal opinion and public policy were blurred with the passage of Obamacare which saw enacted into law health insurance measures that many considered to be the establishment of “Death Panels” that would consider a person’s age and “contribution” in determining whether resources would be allocated for their care or the care of someone else.

Of equal concern, before the public became all too familiar with who Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was, Emanuel worked with him as chief of the Clinical Center’s Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a position that would later be filled by his assistant, and Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady.

In case those concerns weren’t enough, while President Biden deals with the potential fallout of classified documents being discovered at his old office at the University of Pennsylvania think tank where numerous members of his administration had been farmed from, Dr. Robert Malone has pointed out that Emanuel is also the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at UPenn which has a financial interest in the continuation of mRNA vaccine distribution.

Meanwhile, Emanuel, who hopes to not be treated with vaccines or antibiotics himself as he advances in age, hedged, “A lot will depend on whether I really am a rare outlier at 75, and I’m not deceiving myself. That will be the biggest challenge…We are in discussions.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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