Feature Care Priorities

Chief architect of Obamacare sparks furore over wish to “die at 75”

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h292 (Published 19 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h292
  1. Jeanne Lenzer, associate editor, The BMJ, New York, USA
  1. jeanne.lenzer{at}gmail.com

Ezekiel Emanuel denies accusations that he supports euthanasia but says that the US should focus on quality not length of life, Jeanne Lenzer reports

Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, has unleashed controversy after he published an article in the Atlantic magazine entitled, “Why I hope to die at 75.”1

His comments triggered an outpouring of mostly anger at the Atlantic website, where over 4000 responses have been posted. Many echoed Archer R Gravely, who wrote: “I wonder if [Emanuel’s] involvement in the development of Obama Care is connected to this provocative opinion? I certainly have no desire to ‘live’ at an advanced age in a nursing home but I know a number of 80+ folks who have a pretty good time going fishing and shooting at the range.” Others said that his comments promoted “death panels,” which some conservatives [falsely] believed Obamacare would set up to decide who is allowed to receive life saving health care.

Emanuel, 57, a bioethicist and oncologist, defended his comments during a webinar with journalists last month, saying his statements have been misunderstood.

In the Atlantic article, …

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