Policy Focus

  • Joe heard several notable people talking about aging, eventually reading “Why we age and why we don’t have to”.  He realized there were important policy implications related to chronic disease and healthcare spending – 5% of Americans account for 50% of healthcare spending.
  • Longevity could lead to dramatic economic development.
  • Newt Gingrich was on the Alzheimer’s commission, he realized that if you delay Alzheimer’s by 5 years it cuts the cost of care in half.
  • Newt took flak for concentrating on private space development at an early stage.  If longevity gets shifted away from “preventing disease” to “living forever”, politicians wont want to be associated with it.  It’s important to keep the priority on more short term realistic goals in order to prevent the movement from becoming a fringe movement.
  • Longevity is currently not a front-and-center issue, but it may be in the future.  It depends on the sway of public opinion.
  • Doctors might be the primary target audience for political persuasion
  • Disease groups have constituencies, but longevity groups are currently healthy but will be diseased in the future, which is less sympathetic.
  • It’s important to not take money from cancer or Alzheimer’s research to put toward aging research. It should be possible to find additional money toward aging that does not detract from other diseases.
  • Interventions that are seen as replacements for exercise are typically not viewed well.
  • Bundling political donations together is the best way to get meetings with representatives
  • Raising age of retirement is politically toxic and nobody will do it, but regarding longevity it’s possible that more people will just choose to keep working (especially with physically demanding labor decreasing).  Healthspan increases will probably have a net positive effect on government spending, but if social security expenditures wind up increasing we’ll probably just have to pay it.
  • Routing pharmaceutical company taxes into social security might help alleviate the social burden of longer lifespans
  • We will probably have to decouple research from China due to geopolitical tensions
  • If Health and Human Services started recognizing biological age along with chronological age to determine risk, that would be a big step but it takes a lot of effort.
  • Competition between nations might increase the speed of longevity research
  • The executive office is likely the fastest route for political action but it can be polarizing