Ezekiel Emanuel is one of the nation’s premier Obamacarians. He has the president’s ear. He is for health care rationing. And now, he wants us to die at 75.
He doesn’t put it quite like that, writing in the first person. But make no mistake: That is his essential message. From ”Why I Hope to Die at 75,” in The Atlantic:
Here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. 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.
It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.
By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy. Indeed, I plan to have my memorial service before I die. And I don’t want any crying or wailing, but a warm gathering filled with fun reminiscences, stories of my awkwardness, and celebrations of a good life.
This is the quality of life ethic in action. It is an expression of the increasing bigotry we are witnessing against the aged. It is egotistical in that the only thing that matters is what Emmanuel wants without regard to the impact it might have on others. It is fearful of difficulty. It denies the equal dignity and importance of elderly human life. It embraces the idea of elderly people as burdens and disdains the value others may derive when caring for their elderly loved ones. It more than implies that living with limitations isn’t worth living.
Emanuel is free to think what he wants, of course. But the article is important because it expresses the value system upon which Obamacare and other health-care public policies will be predicated if the Ezekiel Emanuels get their way.
In other words, it won’t be so much about choosing not to receive expensive care after 75, but being unable to get it even if that is what you want.