Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wants to check out at age 75 and by implication wants you to follow his lead.
Currently on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, the doctor with a death wish is the brother of former Barack Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, now serving as the mayor of the crime-ridden city of Chicago. His other brother supposedly formed the basis for the Ari Gold character in Entourage.
Perhaps surprising or unsurprising for a medical doctor, Emanuel seems to have a defeatist, fatalistic approach to aging. Health and quality of life, especially in the later years, however, is based on a whole host of factors and variables. Millions of individuals are now staying vigorous and active well beyond the date of their traditional retirement from full-time employment.
Critics of Emanuel's essay claim that its publication is form of propaganda to justify denying expensive or not-so-expensive end-of-life care and indeed is an attempt at redefining what end of life means even as American citizens live longer and healthier.
Moreover, Emanuel's often contentious appearances on cable news programs display anything but a nurturing bedside manner. After the "if you like your plan/doctor, you can keep your plan/doctor" broken promise, for example, Emanuel -- who helped write Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) -- went on TV last year to argue that President Obama never said consumers would have unlimited choice under Obamacare and also chimed in that patients can keep their doctor as long as they pay extra for it.
Obamacare foes have insisted all along that the law will allow bureaucrats (as if insurance companies haven't been bad enough) to decide what treatment you or your friends and loved ones will or won't receive, particularly as you age.
Even liberal Democrat Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, party leader, and presidential candidate, cautioned that Obamacare as presently written provides for healthcare rationing, which essentially vindicated Sarah Palin's much-criticized warning about death panels.
In countries like the U.K. which implemented socialized medicine or universal healthcare (i.e., a completely government-run or single payer medical delivery system), rationing of treatment and long-waiting lists for even routine visits have become the norm.
In an article in The Atlantic about his hope to die at 75 -- which you can read in its entirety and draw your own conclusions from -- Emanuel, 57, writes the following.
"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."
"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. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop."