Camosy, however, said that Emanuel's writings on health care rationing advance "utilitarian, consequentialist arguments" that could be used to justify giving a COVID-19 vaccine first to children, delaying its distribution to nursing homes and long-term care centers which have been the sites of some of the worst outbreaks in the U.S.
The "assumption" of this strategy, he said, would be "that these lives don't matter as much."
In his 2014 article in The Atlantic on wishing to die at age 75, Emanuel cautioned that he was not advocating for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. He stated his opposition to those actions and adding that the terminally ill should instead have a "good, compassionate death."
He criticized the "manic desperation to endlessly extend life" in American culture and said that "[f]or many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop."
Joining Emanuel on Biden's task force as co-chairs are Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration under President Clinton, Dr. Vivek Murthy who served as the Surgeon General from 2014 until 2017, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University.
Murthy, in an interview with NPR earlier this year, emphasized the importance of re-prioritizing relationships during state lockdowns and enforced social distancing measures. He warned of a "social recession" due to the isolation of persons living alone.
"We may be able to use COVID-19 as a way to reset how we approach relationships and to revisit the place that relationships have in our lived priority list," he said.
In 2015, he promoted vaccinations of children as surgeon general, to immunize them against measles or smallpox. In an interview with CNN, he said he was "concerned" that vaccine exemptions for religious and other reasons "in some states is too permissive."
Camosy said that one of the co-chairs, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, "seems to be very good on racial justice issues," a promising sign given how badly Hispanics and African-Americans have suffered from the virus.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.