Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act during the Obama administration, writes in a new piece that he only wants to live 75 years.
In his piece published Wednesday in The Atlantic, Emanuel submits that by the time he becomes 75-years old, he 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.”
He clarifies his statement assuring everyone he is, “as far as my physician and I know, very healthy, with no chronic illness,” adding that he recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with two of his nephews.
Emanuel also writes in the piece that he has “actively opposed” legalizing euthanasia and physician assisted suicide since the 1990s. The architect of one of the biggest healthcare overhauls in history labels those who are trying to extend their lives as “American immortals”:
“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.”
In the piece, Emanuel writes that he will not engage in euthanasia or suicide once he reaches 75, and will not try to extend his life either:
“After 75, if I develop cancer, I will refuse treatment. Similarly, no cardiac stress test. No pacemaker and certainly no implantable defibrillator. No heart-valve replacement or bypass surgery.”
Emanuel tells the story of his father having pain in his abdomen just short of his 77th birthday (an age beyond what Emanuel aspires), which ultimately led to having a cardiac catheterization. His father is able to “read the newspaper, needle his kids on the phone, and still live with [Emanuel’s] mother in their own house. But everything seems sluggish.”
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His father tells Emanuel, “I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.” But Emanuel’s father also told him he was “happy.”
Photo credit: Center for American Progress (Flickr)