Having spent a number of years now paying close attention to articles and other media on the subject of longevity, it seems quite clear to me that most people see no problem with improving healthcare quality and distribution across the board (even as they may differ in their ideas of how this might be accomplished). That is, I don't see any vast conspiracy to "celebrate suffering and death" for people of any age -- quite the contrary, in fact. What I see instead (for the most part) is a world full of vulnerable beings trying to come to terms with that vulnerability.
But -- at the same time, I see some attitudes that genuinely do concern and confound me. For example, some people still respond with expressed worries about economic strife and overpopulation upon hearing that lifespans (at least in some countries) may be increasing, or that some progress is being made in hacking the mechanisms behind the nastier health problems common in old age.
There are so many layers to this stuff I scarcely know where to begin to address it. But I'll make an attempt.
Personally, I like to take an open-ended perspective when speculating about the future. I don't see existing social, economic, and political structures (anywhere in the world) as being "sacred" or intractable to positive change -- change occurs largely as a function of what people decide they value most. So when I see people arguing that much longer lives would be a bad thing because it would stretch existing retirement systems and other benefits (presumably "forcing" the young into longer, harder work days), it seems to me that they're starting at the wrong end of the value equation entirely.
The lack of realism in this projected scenario notwithstanding, why is it that whenever a group characterized at least in some part by its members' vulnerability stands to benefit from some emerging development, it is assumed that the impetus falls on the vulnerable group to "prove" its worth?
More to the point, why is it not assumed instead that individual lives are of primary value, and that the socioeconomic complications which may arise from saving more lives are just things we're going to have to suck up and deal with?
I obviously can't speak for anyone else, but there has never been a question in my mind that when you have a chance to save a life (or several), you take it. You don't (unless your name happens to be Ebenezer Scrooge) sit there playing numbers games, trying to determine whether saving this old person will mean that maybe 10 younger people don't get a big tax break that year, or whether a healthier elderly population might "hurt the job market" for young people.
That said, there are a number of arguments and essays out there by people trying to make a case for why overpopulation and resources won't actually be issues in a future of widespread effective longevity medicine. But my take on the matter is that they shouldn't really be necessary in the first place -- at least not as far as "justifying" healthcare improvements goes from an ethical standpoint.
On the resource/labor market issue: the Longevity Dividend is a pretty darn groundbreaking acknowledgement on the part of Persons of Authority regarding the benefits of better elder health. I have some serious philosophical and ethical problems with describing any population as a "burden", and there are parts of the Longevity Dividend's rhetoric that irk me (hypersensitive as I may be to that sort of thing) for that reason. But as far as the actual arguments go, they make an excellent case for effective longevity medicine being an economic boon as opposed to a crisis.
In other words, I don't think the number-crunching types have anything to worry about.
And on the overpopulation issue: yes, overpopulation can lead to environmental depletion and the kinds of problems that tend to come along with crowding, but there's no reason to assume that improved elder healthcare is incompatible with addressing population and resource problems. If one starts, as I do, from a mindset in which all people are intrinsically valuable and well worth saving on that basis alone, then one has a "given" or constant to work with that must be accounted for in any large-scale project attempted.
Put another way, the acknowledgment of the goodness of saving lives when possible should be non-negotiable. In this framework, no project claiming the goal of "improving" conditions in the world can hinge upon the necessity of people dying by a particular age.
There is absolutely nothing anyone could say to convince me that we ought to "hold off" on developing or distributing better healthcare on population-control grounds -- if you want to make an observation about the problems of overpopulation, fine, but please don't make your population-management strategy contingent upon denying healthcare to certain demographics. All too often I've seen population-management being raised up in the form of apologism for racism, classism, disablism, etc., and ageism is no more acceptable than any of these as a rationale.
Yes, we humans have a hard road ahead of us as far as fixing our environmental problems, economic woes, healthcare messes, persistent social inequality, and other pervasive issues goes, but we must come to terms with the fact that these fixes all need to happen. The fact that it is impossible to do this "perfectly" or immediately is no reason not to try our best in whatever area we've chosen to focus on, and as far as improving healthcare goes, I would say that "trying our best" in this project must entail an acknowledgment that people are valuable and worth saving no matter what their age, background, income level, etc. happens to be.