President of Belgian’s Biggest Health Care Fund Advocates Euthanasia as Solution for Elderly Who are Tired of Life

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Written By Maya Cantina

Screenshot: Luc Van Gorp/X

Luc Van Gorp, President of Belgium’s largest healthcare fund Christian Mutual Society (Mutualité chrétienne), has proposed euthanasia as a potential solution for elderly individuals who feel their lives are complete.

In an interview with the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Van Gorp discussed the burgeoning crisis of Belgium’s aging population and the insurmountable pressure it places on healthcare resources.

Belgium, like many European nations, is witnessing a dramatic increase in its elderly demographic.

According to a study published in the IMF elibrary, Belgium’s population is experiencing a rapid aging trend, which is expected to continue.

Between 2005 and 2022, the segment of the Belgian population aged 65 and over expanded nearly threefold quicker than the under-65 demographic, with annual growth rates of 1.4% compared to 0.5%, respectively.

The pace of aging has notably accelerated in recent years; whereas, from 2005 to 2011, the growth rate of those 65 and older was slower than that of younger Belgians, from 2016 to 2022, it surged to a rate nine times faster. Nearly one in five Belgians is now aged 65 or over.

As of early 2023, Belgium had approximately 2.3 million residents aged 65 and over, accounting for almost 20% of its total population. Projections from the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau indicate that by 2050, this age group will constitute more than a quarter of the population, surpassing 25%.

Van Gorp claimed that merely pumping more money into healthcare is not a sustainable solution.

“No matter how much you end up investing, it will still not be enough. There are simply not enough health workers to do the job,” he said.

“Do we really need all those extra residential care centers? Just building up rooms without doing anything about the staff shortage is not a sustainable model. I miss the why- question in elderly care. Why do we do business the way we do them now? There is often no answer to this.”

Van Gorp proposes a radical solution suggesting euthanasia should be considered an option for those who believe their life journey is complete.

“Many elderly people are tired of life. Why would you necessarily want to prolong such a life?” said Gorp.

“They work well for those in unbearable pain… There should be a more gentle provision for those feeling their life is over,” he said.

“Everyone wants their parents and grandparents to stay as long as possible, right? But do those people want that themselves? And what do they need for that? These questions are asked too little. Some people over 80 will not need anything at all to age well. They will even be able to support others, for example by keeping them company. Others need a lot of care, and – just to be clear – we must continue to provide it.”

“But what about the category of elderly people who receive maximum care, but who still do not have the quality of life they desire? That question is asked far too little,” he added.

Life News reported:

Van Gorp doubled down on the sentiments expressed in his interview with Nieuwsblad. In an op-ed for the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, he wrote: “The demand for care will only increase in the coming years. If we just keep doing the way we are doing today, we’re going for an outright care crash. We can only prevent this if we choose a radically different approach, from a healthy society that puts quality of life first instead of quantity.”

There simply are not enough carers or space for the elderly to live, he says: “Numerous healthcare providers have long indicated that it is not possible to continue in this way. There are simply not enough professional hands left to provide all the care. And as a society, we create too little space to take care of those who are most dear to us ourselves.”

Van Gorp calls for an urgent national debate about the issue: “As delicate as it is, we must dare to enter into the debate about quality of life, including at the end of life. Better today than tomorrow.”

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