As a companion to the recently published book Aging: The Longevity Dividend, you might take a look at this paper on the economics of even marginal success in slowing aging. The gains examined are very small in the grand scheme of things, a few additional years of health via some form of drug-based therapy to adjust the operation of cellular metabolism, such as calorie restriction mimetics, or other approaches such as enhancing autophagy. Drugs based on recapturing the well-studied calorie restriction response have been promised for years, but have yet to arrive in any meaningful way, despite a large research investment in time and money.
Biomedicine has made enormous progress in the last half century in treating common diseases. However, we are becoming victims of our own success. Causes of death strongly associated with biological aging, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke, cluster within individuals as they grow older. These conditions increase frailty and limit the benefits of continued, disease-specific improvements.
Here, we show that a "delayed-aging" scenario, modeled on the biological benefits observed in the most promising animal models, could solve this problem of competing risks. The economic value of delayed aging is estimated to be $7.1 trillion over 50 years. Total government costs, including Social Security, rise substantially with delayed aging - mainly caused by longevity increases - but we show that these can be offset by modest policy changes. Expanded biomedical research to delay aging appears to be a highly efficient way to forestall disease and extend healthy life.
$7.1 trillion over 50 years is ~$140 billion a year, which is about half of the present yearly direct costs of chronic disease in the US. The opportunity costs of aging and disease, in the form of people unable to work and support themselves, are much higher. Delayed aging is not solved aging, of course. If we want an end to aging, and an end to the costs of age-related disease, then rejuvenation research should be the primary approach, meaning efforts to repair the causes of aging rather than only trying to slowing them down. It isn't any harder to achieve this goal, so why aim for the worse outcome?