Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of Obamacare and special adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization, has been widely cited by the news media in recent days arguing that life in the U.S. can’t fully return to normal for about 18 months, estimating that’s when a Chinese coronavirus vaccine could be broadly available.
Emanuel is also advising presidential candidate Joe Biden on the pandemic, joining Biden’s hastily assembled Public Health Advisory Committee.
While the media has been quoting Emanuel as an expert in health policy, the brother of former Chicago mayor and ex-Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is more than that.
Emanuel has had a longtime and controversial fascination with healthcare rationing, writing scores of papers over the years on the ethics of allocating medical resources to a population. He is also a hyper-partisan champion of progressive policies that have sought to fundamentally transform the U.S. economy and healthcare system.
He once wrote a piece titled, “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” In the 2014 Atlantic article, Emanuel made clear that he was serious about his wish to die at 75 and even argued that “living too long is also a loss.”
I am sure of my position. 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 posited that “for many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.”
His argument for death at 75 is particularly instructive now that he’s joined 77-year-old Biden’s campaign.
In his Atlantic piece, Emanuel referenced those “lucky” enough to have “escaped physical and mental disability” after the age of 75. Yet he still argues that life will decline in those cases, as well.
“Even if we aren’t demented, our mental functioning deteriorates as we grow older,” he wrote of those who are still more highly functioning after the age of 75.
“Age-associated declines in mental-processing speed, working and long-term memory, and problem-solving are well established. Conversely, distractibility increases. We cannot focus and stay with a project as well as we could when we were young. As we move slower with age, we also think slower.”
Emanuel brought his obsession with healthcare rationing into the coronavirus debate. Last month, he wasted no time penning an eerie New York Times oped offering suggestions on how to ration ventilators to the American public while arguing against using a traditional first come first serve basis.
He co-authored the piece under the banner of his title of vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.
Emanuel posited that ethics “requires” hospitals to use a method of “assessing and reassessing who is most likely to survive” to determine which patients should be allocated ventilators and other resources during a supply shortage.
When it comes to time spent treating patients, Emanuel wrote that “rather than spending eight hours caring for one extremely ill person with a bad prognosis, a doctor will contribute more spending one hour each on eight patients who can survive.”
In widely citing Emanuel in recent days, the media largely ignore that he is a senior fellow at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, which served as the de facto idea factory for the Obama White House.
Earlier this week, Emanuel used the coronavirus crisis to advocate for a universal health care system, which he claimed would be the best way to fill in the gaps during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is a great argument for universal health care coverage that isn’t ‘hole-y’ and doesn’t allow, you know, millions of people to slip through. It is an argument for simplification of the system,” Emanuel stated.
Emanuel, meanwhile, is special advisor to the director-general of the embattled World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Emanuel was an outspoken defender of Tedros when Tedros faced accusations during the 2017 WHO nomination process that he worked with the Ethiopian government to allegedly cover up cholera outbreaks starting in 2006, instead labeling them acute diarrhea.
Emanuel’s close association with Tedros may raise some eyebrows considering the WHO chief’s wading into U.S. politics by essentially accusing President Trump of politicizing coronavirus.
“Please don’t politicize this virus,” Tedros said earlier this week when asked about Trump’s raising questions about WHO’s relationship with China.
“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you [politicize the virus],” Tedros told reporters in Geneva. “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”
Emanuel has been making the media rounds the last few days positing that it will take about 18 months before the U.S. can return to normal.
“The kind of normal where we go traveling, we go to restaurants, we go to concerts, we go to religious services, we go on cruises, until we have a vaccine that protects everyone. That’s 18 months, it’s not going to be sooner,” Emanuel told ABC News.
“Anyone who tells you we’re going to have a vaccine in three or four months, that’s just not the reality of how biology and research works,” he stated.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein_