If Ray Kurzweil lives forever, should Medicare pay for his healthcare?

April 15, 2013

Ray Kurzweil plans to live forever. All power to him. Mr. Kurzweil’s contributions to mankind arguably have been so extraordinary that perhaps we owe it to him to provide him medical care in perpetuity.

Alternatively, perhaps he never plans to retire and/or has amassed a portfolio easily capable of supporting him in perpetuity unassisted by either Social Security or Medicare. In that case, no obvious public policy issues arise from his own personal plans.

But the vision he paints is not restricted to the 1 percent. Portable phones that once were affordable only to the likes of Gordon Gekkos now are routinely available to people in Third World countries.

As Mr. Kurzweil pithily observes: “A kid in Africa with a smartphone is walking around with a trillion dollars of computation circa 1970s.” The life-extending technologies he envisions will be ubiquitous—not limited to the rich. […]