On Monday, Joe Biden appointed Dr Ezekiel Emanuel as one of 10 Public Health Advisory Committee board members to his coronavirus task force, the group that is supposed to end the pandemic.
Previously, Emanuel was a special advisor in the Obama White House, and a prominent shaper of Obamacare. He is a high-profile medical figure in the US and often on TV, appearing as an expert on medical matters. He is regarded as a leading expert on Covid-19.
But does he really believe Joe Biden would be better off dead?
In an infamous 2014 magazine article called “Why I hope to die at 75”, he declared that for most people “creativity, originality and productivity are pretty much gone by 75”.
He blamed older people for trying to deny that living too long leaves many faltering and declining, robbing them of their creativity and the ability to contribute to society.
This is potentially awkward for Biden, not least because at 78 on Inauguration Day, he will be more than a month or two past the age Emanuel believes people cease to be of use to anyone.
Many observers say that age is indeed catching up with Biden and there are obvious signs of cognitive decline but does Emanuel stick by his opinion that the president-elect is now nothing more than a shell of his former self who should stop trying to prolong his life?
If he does, then as he wrote six years ago, society as a whole would be improved if “nature took its course swiftly and promptly”.
Modern medicine has extended life spans, but it has done little to make life worth living in old age, Emanuel argued back in 2014.
He said that age changes how people see and relate to one another. They are no longer seen as energetic and useful but as feeble, weak, even pathetic.
Those approaching Emanuel’s die-by date may worry in their more contemplative moments that the saddest inevitability of living too long is that their loved ones, and in Biden’s case, the whole world, will forget how full of life they were and remember them only as they will be before they finally slip away.
This year Emanuel is 63, just 12 years away from having to make a final call on where he now stands regarding the issue most famously associated with him.