Because life, even with a serious illness like multiple myeloma, is a marathon worth running.

Millions of Americans, in Minnesota and elsewhere, share the growing concern about the cost of health care, whether it’s insurance premiums, hospitalization or prescription drugs. Yet it is crucial that any reforms don’t jeopardize the health of patients with life-threatening illnesses — patients like me.

I have a legitimate reason to fear this. A health care think tank, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), is looking at treatment costs for the disease I have — multiple myeloma, a rare cancer of cells in the bone marrow. My concern is that ICER is right now developing an analysis — first for my disease, then for others — that focuses solely on drug costs. Health care companies and federal policymakers will likely use it to deny treatment they deem too expensive.

It’s called a “value framework.” The one for my disease will be on full display this Thursday, after which the group will begin releasing similar frameworks for other life-threatening illnesses, including lung cancer, multiple sclerosis and more.

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