As I See It: Setting New Goals, Dreaming New Dreams

A Boston-based think tank is currently developing policy proposals to measure the “effectiveness and value” of treatment options for a rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma. If you think this news only applies to myeloma patients and their families, think again. Similar “value frameworks” are being prepared for other disease types – and perhaps all of them.

We are alarmed because this idea comes from a group called ICER (the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review in Boston), which has made it clear that it is looking primarily at the costs of medicine, and is funded by many insurance and health care companies.

My husband, Terry, has multiple myeloma. When he was diagnosed 16 years ago, our initial fear was quickly replaced with profound courage. Why courage? Terry’s doctor told us that because of amazing new medical and therapeutic innovations, although this rare blood cancer is not curable, it might be treatable – and even manageable. And in Terry’s case, treatable with just a pill.

But there was a catch. Terry would be the first patient to take it.

Terry opted in, but to hedge our bets, we decided to travel. We splurged on motorcycles. Terry even bought a red Corvette.

Then reality set in.

That little pill did its job. Terry was a survivor. We had to pay for all this extravagance and get back to work.

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