Olshansky argues that the old paradigm of directly targeting diseases is about to run out of steam. Even if all cancer, all heart disease and all diabetes were eliminated, it would add only 3 more years to average life expectancy in the United States. So if researchers want to achieve big gains in lifespan and healthspan they have to go after the aging process itself. For adults the doubling time for risk of death is seven years. If you slow aging by seven years, you cut the risk of death at any age in half, and cut the risk everything else that goes wrong with the body in half too. The idea is not to make people older longer, but to make them younger longer. Not being libertarians, Olshansky and other advocates for the longevity dividend want to reprogram $3 billion in federal biomedical research to target aging itself.
Being a libertarian, I want the same thing.
Our medical paradigm is to throw lots of resources at people when they are old and desperately ill, or at research on treatments for such people. This is very kind-hearted, but it is not cost-effective. The best people to throw medical resources at are pregnant mothers and very young children. The best medical researchers to throw money at are those doing fundamental research on making cells more robust and/or regenerative.