Daily on Healthcare: Would an old presidential candidate die in office? Some scientific answers

By | July 26, 2019

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WOULD AN OLD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DIE IN OFFICE? SOME SCIENTIFIC ANSWERS: The crowded field of aging presidential candidates has raised questions about their prospects for good health and longevity. And while there’s no crystal ball, one study released Friday provides some insight into how long candidates might live and the risk of impairment as they age.

The white paper, from the American Federation for Aging Research, finds that on Inauguration Day 2021, Donald Trump would have a life expectancy of 11.4 years, putting him on track to survive well past a second term. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would have a life expectancy of 9.3 and 8.7 years, respectively, barely enough for a two-term presidency.

The study used data from the Social Security Administration to find that all 27 people who declared a run for president are likely to survive at least a single term, and even a second term. If inaugurated again in 2025, Biden would have another 7.2 years and Sanders would have another 6.6 years. The odds are lowest for former Alaska senator Mike Gravel, 89, who doesn’t intend to become president. The data show his life expectancy would be 4.6 years past inauguration. If he outlived that, at that point, his lifespan would be another 3.4 years.

The findings, of course, are no guarantee. The candidates could always succumb to an infection, stroke, or accident, or become cognitively impaired. The study suggests none of the candidates would have some sort of disability for longer than 11 months toward the end of their lives, but there are many unknown variables.

“There is no guarantee one way or another that they will live long or not have health problems, but the evidence we see from the scientific literature says there is nothing in the chronological age that would lead us to think age is an issue for any one of them,” said S. Jay Olshansky, lead author of the paper and an aging expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Olshansky’s past research has suggests that, contrary to popular belief, presidents don’t age faster than most people, and tend to have long lives. Part of the reason is that they have advantages that improve their odds, such as having higher incomes and access to top-notch healthcare.

Read more about the analysis, and how age is playing in the 2020 election.

Good morning and welcome to the Washington Examiner’s Daily on Healthcare! This newsletter is written by senior healthcare reporter Kimberly Leonard (@LeonardKL) and healthcare reporter Cassidy Morrison (@CassMorrison94). You can reach us with tips, calendar items, or suggestions at dailyonhealthcare@washingtonexaminer.com. If someone forwarded you this email and you’d like to receive it regularly, you can subscribe here.

FOLLOWING DISPUTES, DRUG PRICING BILL MOVES OUT OF SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: Legislation that would lower what patients in Medicare pay for drugs advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday despite close-call votes on controversial provisions. The legislation, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, passed by a 19-9 vote, with only Republicans voting against. The bill would cap what people on Medicare pay for drugs and would cap drug costs by forcing drug companies to give rebates to Medicare if they increase their prices above inflation, among more than two dozen other provisions.

An effort by Republicans to throw out the inflation piece of the bill narrowly fell by a 14-14 vote, while an effort by Democrats to allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices was defeated 16-12.

NO BIG DEMOCRATIC ABORTION RIDERS IN SWEEPING TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL: The Democratic-lead House passed a massive budget deal Thursday suspending the debt ceiling until July 2021 and raising government spending by $ 320 billion over existing caps.

The budget, once passed by the Senate, will protect the Hyde Amendment, which keeps federal dollars from funding most abortions, and won’t block the the administration from implementing the Trump administration Title X rule which says women’s health providers who receive the grants cannot directly refer patients to abortion providers. Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised the budget, saying it “does not include anti-life poison pills that would block conscience protections, allow taxpayer funding for experiments involving the body parts of aborted babies, fund the abortion industry overseas using taxpayer dollars, or fund abortion on demand in the District of Columbia.”

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ACTING PLANNED PARENTHOOD CEO SAYS THE ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN POLITICIZED, NOT BY CHOICE: Acting Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson wrote in a Wednesday Washington Post op-ed that the care the organization provides is not meant to be a source of political conflict, but politics has made it one against its will. McGill wrote that “the sexual and reproductive health care our organization provides is not “political”; it has been politicized — and not by us.”

What she’s responding to: Last week, former Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen said she was ousted because of her efforts to frame the organization as less about politics and more about healthcare.

FAMILY PLANNING ORGANIZATION PETITIONS TO STOP IMPLEMENTATION OF TRUMP TITLE X RULE: The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association petitioned Thursday to halt enforcement of the Trump administration’s Title X rule. Health and Human Services announced July 15 that the rule would go into effect immediately while a full panel of judges decides whether to ultimately allow the rule to be implemented. HHS said the following week that Title X recipients will have until August 19 to submit to the department in writing that they will abide by Title X rules.

A panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the Title X rule to move forward on July 11, upholding a June decision to lift injunctions that blocked the rule from being enforced. “We’re asking the full circuit court to give proper effect to its July 3 order that granted the rehearing. Doing so will protect the longstanding family planning provider network and its patients from suffering immediate and harmful consequences of the rule,” said Clare Coleman, CEO of NFPRHA Thursday.

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TRUMP SIGNS BILL TO REQUIRE BREASTFEEDING ROOMS IN FEDERAL BUILDINGS: Trump signed the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2019 into law Thursday, mandating that certain federal buildings, including the Capitol and Smithsonian museums, have a separate room for mothers to breastfeed out of public view. When the bill passed in the House in February, D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who introduced the bill, said it was a “logical step to ensure that visitors to Federal sites have access to clean, hygienic and private spaces to nurse or pump.”

EIGHT WISCONSIN TEENS HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED WITH LUNG DAMAGE AND SOME DOCTORS BLAME VAPING: Eight teenagers in southeast Wisconsin have been hospitalized for severe lung damage since June. Some doctors are pointing the finger at vaping, the one common thread among them. While some of the boys have been released, others are still being treated for symptoms including vomiting, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea.

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FRIDAY | July 26

9:30 a.m. Rayburn 2154. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on “The Patient Perspective: The Devastating Impacts of Skyrocketing Drug Prices on American Families.” Details.

10 a.m. 1333 H Street NW. Center for American Progress event on “The Americans with Disabilities Act at 29: A Fair Shot for Workers with Disabilities.” Details.

MONDAY | July 29

Senate in session. House in August recess.

TUESDAY | July 30

8 p.m. CNN Democratic Debates: Night 1. Details.


8 p.m. CNN Democratic Debates: Night 2. Details.