Arrow-right Camera
Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Patti Harter: How to keep Medicare and Medicaid from going bankrupt

Bernie Sanders and other politicians have been complaining about the risk of Medicare and Medicaid going bankrupt. Concern for insolvency is certainly real. According to forbes.com, it’s expected that by the year 2060 the number of Americans over the age of 65 in the United States will “double from roughly 50 million today to nearly 100 million by 2060.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhaseltine/2018/04/02/aging-populations-will-challenge-healthcare-systems-all-over-the-world/#6bdbc9ac2cc3)

There is, however, an evolving science called molecular biology that may hold the key to solving this problem. According to nature.com, “the science of ageing has grown in molecular detail. It is now becoming clear that changes at the levels of DNA, protein, cells and tissues all contribute to organismal ageing. Intriguingly, despite the diverse inputs, there are some common molecular themes and a few pathways and genes that have emerged as important modulators of ageing.” (https://www.nature.com/collections/wxvnsksjrn)

In other words, molecular biology may well be on the path to slowing and possibly ending aging.

Surprisingly, the National Institutes of Health states that “aging is neither a disease, nor a non-disease. Instead, it combines all age-related diseases and their preclinical forms, in addition to other pathological changes” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5540438/). Unfortunately, this definition makes funding anti-aging research extremely difficult if not impossible through the National Institute on Aging, which doesn’t fund “abstract” concepts. Our ability to slow or even reverse the aging process depends on how quickly it can be funded. It could take 10 years or as long as 50 years if funding is difficult to secure. In 2010, Harvard Medical School already demonstrated it could partially reverse aging in mice by toggling their telomerase gene (https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/12/1/aging-depinho-mice-according/).

According to a “Data check: U.S. government share of basic research funding falls below 50%,” “and there has been significant rise in corporate funding of fundamental science since 2012. The first is a familiar story to most academic scientists, who face stiffening competition for federal grants. But the second trend will probably surprise them. It certainly flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which paints U.S. companies as so focused on short-term profits that they have all but abandoned the pursuit of fundamental knowledge, an endeavor that may take decades to pay off.” (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/data-check-us-government-share-basic-research-funding-falls-below-50)

If the government would spend just $3 billion on anti-aging research (about 0.44 percent of the Medicare budget), the ability to slow if not reverse the aging process itself could become a reality and prevent Medicare and Medicaid from going bankrupt in the future. If we slow down the aging process we begin to eliminate diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and age-related cancer to name a few. (http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2015/10/Billionaire-Philanthropists-Funding-Anti-Aging-Research/Page-01)

Since the modern ascension of molecular biology, Mark Sackler, a senior foresight analyst with the Omansky Group, LLC, has forecast that by the year 2040 “there is a 50-50 chance of there being widely available affordable rejuvenation therapy.” (https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2018/01/aubrey-de-grey-on-ending-aging-and-the-relative-merits-of-various-approaches/). As mentioned in Life Extension magazine, it appears there is an oligarchy of Silicon Valley billionaires already invested in anti-aging research but not to the extent that’s needed. Organizations such as SENS.org and Centagen.com who are developing anti-aging rejuvenation therapies have been forced to seek private funding to support their research which has severely restricted their progress. It also appears that biotechnologies are becoming the new venture capital of the future. (https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2018/05/reason-launches-repair-biotechnologies-a-venture-to-bring-rejuvenation-therapies-to-the-clinic-chief-scientist-sought/)

At this point in time our government is doing little about anti-aging research while the aging community continues to suffer. The Holocaust during War World II killed over 6 million people. Worldwide, 36 million people will die at the rate of 100,000 per day within a year due to aging. (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/aug/01/aubrey-de-grey-ageing-research)

We need to spread the word to our elected officials about the need to end aging and all its related suffering; demanding our government fund this vital research. Otherwise it will cost trillions of dollars to manage the care of the 70 million baby boomers who are already beginning to experience the degenerative declines of aging. (https://www.prb.org/justhowmanybabyboomersarethere/) Which makes more sense? Idly standing by as millions of people suffer and die through the aging process or slowing it down and healing it?

Before retiring, Patti Harter worked with the 20,000 members of SPEEA (the white-collar Boeing union) to protect their assets from the cost of long-term care during retirement. She is the author of “Announcing the Coming End of Biological Aging and Disease.”


Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!