Personally, I’d like to survive the next five years. I expect this will always be my position on the matter.
But should I have the same goal for the public at large? Is maximizing health really a good social policy? Here’s a novel answer: no.
I don’t object to titanium hips, defibrillator implants or other modern marvels. But as rich people’s life expectancies climb past 80, we should ask: what’s the goal here?
It’s not a trivial question; the best argument against public health care is that it slows general increases in health by dampening innovation. I agree.
But innovation is a price I’m willing to pay. My policy goal isn’t maximizing health, it’s maximizing happiness. At this point in our health-care progress, maximal happiness will come from keeping everybody sorta healthy, not keeping two-thirds of us extremely healthy.
Would I prefer cancer to be cured before I die of it? You bet. But I’m not going to vote against health care for everybody else in order to keep myself alive for a few extra years. That would be macabre.