Wesley J. Smith: Pushing ‘Healthspan’ Duty to Die for the Elderly?


(NRO) – The bioethicist and Obamacare architect, Ezekiel Emanuel, made headlines — and raised hackles — when he argued a few years ago that 75 is the right age to die, or at least, to stop fighting medically to extend life.

Now in “From Lifespan to Healthspan,” published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), University of Illinois professor S. Jay Olshansky argues that it is time to shift medicine’s focus — starting at age 65 — away from “life extension” to maintaining quality of life or years of healthy living, which he calls “healthspan”:

With death inevitable, the modern attempt to counteract aging-related diseases reveals a phenomenon known as competing risks. When the risk of death from a disease decreases, the risk of death from other diseases increases or becomes more apparent. . . . For example, finding a cure for cancer may cause an unintended increase in the prevalence of Alzheimer disease. CONTINUE