Monday, March 23, 2009

Superlongevity: Live to be 200? What happens to Medicare, social security then?

Early Monday March 23, 2009 ABC “Good Morning America” presented a brief report on Dr. Mehmet Oz and “superlongevity.” The claim is that even in less than ten years we could have the ability to double life spans. Age 99 could become the new 50.

Some of the tricks include severe caloric restriction starting in early adulthood (maybe after childbirth) and the growing of organs from animals with stem cell implants (livers, pancreas, arteries, even hearts). The research is going on at Wake Forest.

The link for the excerpt from Oz’s new book (“You: Being Beautiful”) is here.

There will be a more detailed report on Oprah Winfrey’s show Tuesday March 24.

It’s not clear if these measures are of any help to the aged now. But the possibility obviously raises new public policy questions. Will employers keep the super longlived working longer? Will we have to raise the retirement age (for social security) into the 100+ range? What happens with Medicare? How will the demographics of having more or fewer children interact with longevity?

Think of this another way, though. Super-longevity would give the individual more time for "dollar cost averaging" in the stock market and more ability to weather downturns.

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