August 21, 2019 | MIT Technology Review
A Doctor and Medical Ethicist Argues Life After 75 Is Not Worth Living
In October 2014, Ezekiel Emanuel published an essay in the Atlantic called “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” Because Emanuel is a medical doctor and chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s department of medical ethics and health policy, as well as a chief architect of Obamacare, the article stirred enormous controversy.
Emanuel vowed to refuse not only heroic medical interventions once he turned 75, but also antibiotics and vaccinations. His argument: older Americans live too long in a diminished state, raising the question of, as he put it, “whether our consumption is worth our contribution.”
Emanuel was born into a combative clan. One brother, Rahm, recently completed two terms as the controversial mayor of Chicago; another brother, Ari, is a high-profile Hollywood agent. But even given his DNA, Emanuel’s death wish was a provocative argument from a medical ethicist and health-care expert.
Emanuel, now 62, talked with me about the social implications of longevity research and why he isn’t a fan of extending life spans. I was particularly curious to get his reaction to several promising new anti-aging drugs.