How far should medical resources be used to extend life expectancy?

YES: There are many compelling pragmatic, moral and legal arguments to justify using significant medical resources to extend life expectancy over other public health issues.

  1. From a pragmatic perspective, governments should utilize a large proportion of medical resources to fund research into and develop innovations that extend life expectancy so that citizens have a longer economic lifespan and contribute more significantly to economic growth.

  2. Society has a moral obligation to devote a significant amount of medical resources to raising life expectancy if it aspires to develop a progressive society where all citizens have the right to long and happy lives comparable to those of other countries.

  3. Most of society’s public healthcare programs and policies, such as public inoculations and reducing youth obesity, aim at raising citizens’ quality of life, thereby justifying the extensive use of medical resources to raise life expectancy.

NO: Many pragmatic, moral and legal arguments highlight the case against overly using medical resources to extend life expectancy and compromising other public health outcomes.

  1. Longer life expectancy inevitably leads to aging populations and higher public health care costs for many countries, making it advisable for governments to devote less public funding to extending life expectancy and more towards medical research that focuses on raising the quality of life for aging citizens.

  2. Society should not allow commercially driven medical entities, such as pharmaceutical companies or private hospitals, to draw on significant amounts of medical resources to projects that aim to extend life expectancy for the rich, and which deprive society of these same resources.

  3. It is largely inadvisable to devote significant medical resources to raising life expectancy that may divert public funding away from other important public health issues, such as epidemic prevention or adequate palliative care.