Obamacare Architect Thinks We Should Die by 75

 

Ezekiel Emanuel, former White House Special Adviser on Obamacare and current Director of Clinical Bioethics at NIH, has decided the optimal age for death: Seventy-five.

Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But 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.

Emanuel, brother to Chicago mayor Rahm and Hollywood super-agent Ari, first gained notoriety as a key target of Sarah Palin. Along with other conservatives, Palin accused Ezekiel of advocating death panels, a charge he bitterly denied, even after the codification of IPAB.

Now that Obamacare is the law of the land, he isn’t as shy about sharing his controversial thoughts on aging Americans. He views geriatric medicine as a way to give “terminally ill people a good, compassionate death,” rather than a way to prolong their lives. “Americans may live longer than their parents, but they are likely to be more incapacitated,” Emanuel says. “Does that sound very desirable? Not to me.”

Stephen Hawking is quite incapacitated, as are many other productive people under 75. Should they too thirst for death, or is attaining that arbitrary age a requirement for self-destruction? As a prominent bioethicist, Emanuel must understand the repercussions of his ideas better than most.

The musings get even creepier with Emanuel’s examples of family members who have outlasted their desirability:

My father illustrates the situation well. About a decade ago, just shy of his 77th birthday, he began having pain in his abdomen. Like every good doctor, he kept denying that it was anything important. But after three weeks with no improvement, he was persuaded to see his physician. He had in fact had a heart attack, which led to a cardiac catheterization and ultimately a bypass. Since then, he has not been the same. Once the prototype of a hyperactive Emanuel, suddenly his walking, his talking, his humor got slower. Today he can swim, read the newspaper, needle his kids on the phone, and still live with my mother in their own house. But everything seems sluggish. Although he didn’t die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life. When he discussed it with me, my father said, “I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.” Despite this, he also said he was happy.

I dearly hope that the elder Emanuel doesn’t read this article.

[L]iving as long as possible has drawbacks we often won’t admit to ourselves. I will leave aside the very real and oppressive financial and caregiving burdens that many, if not most, adults in the so-called sandwich generation are now experiencing, caught between the care of children and parents. Our living too long places real emotional weights on our progeny…

[P]arents also cast a big shadow for most children. Whether estranged, disengaged, or deeply loving, they set expectations, render judgments, impose their opinions, interfere, and are generally a looming presence for even adult children… And while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone.

I dearly hope that no one in the Emanuel family reads this article, though it would have been helpful to have this information prior to the Obamacare vote. At least he chose to “leave aside the very real and oppressive financial and caregiving burdens” or that might have induced guilt in those cruel, selfish octogenarians.

Emanuel doesn’t recommend euthanasia. But despite his protestations, the article tacitly argues for Die-If-You-Know-What’s-Best-For-You. After 75, he has determined that you are a burden to yourself, to your loved ones and to society at large. A 76-year-old obviously isn’t in a position to contribute anything useful. Emanuel isn’t ordering you to step on that the outbound ice floe, but when Obamacare 2.0 comes along, who knows?

I visited my 100-year-old grandmother this summer. Though Mr. Emanuel would look down upon her as “feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic,” I look up to her. Her vision is blurred, her hearing weak and her mind tired. But with a firm grasp of my hand and a tender kiss on my cheek she showed that she can contribute something far more important than an article in The Atlantic: Love.

There are 55 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    I’ll take God’s three score and twenty (maybe more), but I’ll be DAMNED if I’m going to let this jerk and his death panel tell me 75 is all I’ve got . . .

    • #1
    • September 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm
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  2. Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    [P]arents also cast a big shadow for most children. Whether estranged, disengaged, or deeply loving, they set expectations, render judgments, impose their opinions, interfere, and are generally a looming presence for even adult children… And while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone.

    I am attempting to find some interpretation of these words which do not paint Mr. Emanuel as a rather poor son and singularly ungrateful child. So far no luck.

    • #2
    • September 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm
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  3. Podcaster

    Emmanuel’s Run.

    • #3
    • September 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm
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  4. Member

    I now have an idea for a Halloween costume. On the scary/creepy scale, an Ezekiel Emanuel mask is an 11.

    • #4
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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  5. Inactive

    “Americans may live longer than their parents, but they are likely to be more incapacitated,” Emanuel says. “Does that sound very desirable? Not to me.”

    Key phrase: “not to me”. This is a personal matter. Someone may decide 75 is enough. And someone else would go as long as possible. This was a pointless article by Emmanuel. But it does open the door to something worse.

    • #5
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm
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  6. Inactive

    Between this, MMGW alarmism, and Michele Obama’s “healthy” but flavorless food agenda, I think the left’s vision of the future more closely represents Soylent Green.

    • #6
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm
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  7. Inactive
    MLH

    He looks like he’s getting pretty close to that, himself.

    • #7
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:15 pm
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  8. Inactive

    I hope Zeke practices what he preaches.

    • #8
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm
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  9. Reagan

    May your grandmother have another 100. I lost my last one a couple of years ago at 99 1/2. It was a shame. She was very much looking forward to the century mark.

    • #9
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm
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  10. Member

    And the Democrats say Republicans haven’t contributed anything to the healthcare debate. If Alan Grayson is to be believed, Republicans came up with what seems now to be the core of the American healthcare regime: “Die Quickly!”

    • #10
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm
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  11. Member
    MBF

    I think you’re mistaken. It is actually Republicans that favor pushing grandma’s wheelchair off the cliff. I’ve seen the video.

    • #11
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm
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  12. Member

    The GOP braintrust has 6+ weeks to use this to maximum electoral advantage, to relentlessly and endlessly pound this immoral view home to every voter who ever had a parent, as emblematic of Obamacare and its not-too-distant-future reach.

    But will they?

    • #12
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm
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  13. Thatcher

    EJHill:Emmanuel’s Run.

    Where is the Image on this EJ?

    I think this guy should off himself at 75, just to be consistent.

    • #13
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm
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  14. Inactive

    Little Ricky Cobden:I hope Zeke practices what he preaches.

    Many environmentalists adopt restrictions of their own lifestyles, and then seek to impose them on society. They often go to greater lengths in, for example, reuse, recycling, etc. than most people will tolerate. They see this as virtuous, and as doing their best to make up for the selfishness of others who will not be virtuous.

    Ezekiel Emmanuel should follow this example, and lead the way for us as soon as possible. Why wait until 75?

    • #14
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm
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  15. Inactive

    75 is far too long for me. Can I sell some years to someone who wants them?

    • #15
    • September 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm
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  16. Member

    I’m begging the editors. Please, please get that evil man’s visage off the carousel. Otherwise, I may have to avoid Ricochet until it cycles off.

    • #16
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm
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  17. Contributor

    We are witnessing the Great Unmasking — and next to no Americans are paying any attention.

    • #17
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm
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  18. Member

    Is it like the healthcare version of the military draft?

    Once you turn 75, your name gets put in the lottery.

    Tonight’s winner is 24601…

    • #18
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm
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  19. Member

    You have to admit, death makes for a nice solution. Wraps up all the loose ends as it were. Death for the very young and death for the very old. Death for the fat, the slow, or the crippled…what social ill or human suffering can death not alleviate for us?

    • #19
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm
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  20. Inactive

    While reading Emanuel’s piece earlier today I kept thinking that this was the most spine-chilling propaganda I’d ever been subjected to. He should have published this on Halloween for maximum oomph. I dearly hope everyone in his family reads it, and I hope they do it aloud to him on the eve of his 75th birthday.

    • #20
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm
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  21. Reagan

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    EJHill:Emmanuel’s Run.

    Where is the Image on this EJ?

    I think this guy should off himself at 75, just to be consistent.

    He won’t, for the same reason Al Gore flies around in a private plane.

    • #21
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm
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  22. Thatcher

    I’m sure the govt can organize the govt-run health-care system so as to obtain this outcome.

    • #22
    • September 18, 2014 at 5:57 pm
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  23. Thatcher

    Jon,

    I just don’t see what is that you are all complaining about. Just because the chief architect of Obamacare appears to be a sociopathic schizophrenic shouldn’t make us lose sleep. After all if you just don’t read the Bill, go outside, or talk to anyone every again everything will be all right.

    And now a little interlude with Dr. Zeke Strangelove.

    I hope Mr. Hendrix enjoyed that.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
    • September 18, 2014 at 7:25 pm
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  24. Member

    EJHill:Emmanuel’s Run.

    When he turns 75 we can send the Sandmen after him.

    Run, runner!

    • #24
    • September 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm
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  25. Member

    Jon, I am grateful every day for my parents and the medical practitioners who fought to bring me into the world, my siblings and extended family as well, for the freedom to succeed – and fail; for the opportunities to learn, work, worship, give and receive. Sorry, Zeke, as Mrs. Clinton once said: “I ain’t no ways tired.”

    How blatantly self-absorbed and self-referential! How lacking in gratitude! This makes me want to (as my Mother taught me to say) upchuck…

    • #25
    • September 18, 2014 at 7:56 pm
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  26. Inactive
    AIG

    Why am I not surprised at all? I’m just surprised that he would think it ok to say this publicly.

    This is plainly sick. And frightening: Director of Bioethics at NIH.

    • #26
    • September 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm
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  27. Thatcher

    I will happily deliver his cup of hemlock on his 75th birthday. And watch while he drinks it.

    • #27
    • September 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm
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  28. Contributor

    Dr. Emanuel was born in 1957. Let’s ask him what he thinks of this idea in, say, 2032.

    • #28
    • September 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm
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  29. Member

    RushBabe49:I will happily deliver his cup of hemlock on his 75th birthday. And watch while he drinks it.

    He won’t drink it:

    Nor am I talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide. Since the 1990s, I have actively opposed legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. People who want to die in one of these ways tend to suffer not from unremitting pain but from depression, hopelessness, and fear of losing their dignity and control. The people they leave behind inevitably feel they have somehow failed. The answer to these symptoms is not ending a life but getting help.

    Though some of his other ideas are kooky, I have to at least give him credit for this.

    • #29
    • September 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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  30. Member

    I actually agree with him on another point as well:

    Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.

    I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive.

    While I’d rather live to 100 all else being equal, if it means giving up bacon cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes, then thanks but no thanks.

    • #30
    • September 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm
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