Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Critical Elements of Health Reform

I received an email today from the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) asking me to post about the Cancer Patient Statement of Principles, to help assure that the essential elements of health reform will become law despite the current partisan tension.
International Myeloma Foundation

Happy to do it! These elements are:
  • Affordable access to basic and catastrophic health care coverage for as many Americans as possible.
  • The elimination of "pre-existing conditions" as a barrier to health care coverage.
  • The elimination of annual and lifetime caps on insurance coverage.
  • Closing of the Medicare "donut hole."
  • Continued investment in research and innovation to address the needs of those with all deadly diseases.
To show your support for these priorities, please visit the IMF advocacy page and contact your Senators and Congressperson.  And feel free to blog about it yourself!

Thank you!    Don


  1. i know you can do it keep on running

  2. Thanks, Don, for calling attention to this.

    I don't want to be a partypooper but there is another side to this that need to be considered.

    Single payer healthcare systems DO NOT provide critical Myeloma drugs to newly diagnosed patients. For example, Velcade and Revlimid (let along Pomalidomide, which I know you were on at Mayo) are not covered for newly diagnosed patients in the UK.

    As we reform healthcare, let's make sure that our efforts to resolve the problems you have highlighted do not ultimately hurt the quality of care.

  3. Thanks, Nick. Very thoughtful.

    Yep it isn't a simple issue. Cost is always a factor. I'm on Medicare, and would have donut-hole-free coverage for Revlimid and Velcade only because I have a supplemental policy, which is plenty expensive.

    But the principles advocated by the IMF do not depend on enactment of a single-payer system. That's fortunate, because a single-payer system for people under 65 is a non-starter in the current political climate.

    I'm hoping that the politicos can get together on a reasonable bill that will cover all of us and provide the essential elements advocated by the IMF.

  4. "Here here" (or is it "hear hear?") to that, Don!

    Although frankly I think we have a higher likelihood of Myeloma being cured while we wait for our politicians to behave constructively. ;)

    Meanwhile, I'm sure we are both thankful that our treatments were covered (more or less) -- I'm always mindful that I'm fortunate I had good insurance!

    Hope you are keeping warm and healthy up there! :)

  5. Don,
    I'm with you all the way on health care reform; and then some. And with all due respect to Nick, whom I really like, I am also an advocate for a single payer system. The UK does not represent all of what a single payer system could be. The current system relies upon insurance company bureaucrats and claims adjustors to make medical decisions. Because they have a profit motive, they are potentially more difficult to deal with than government adjustors might be. Over the last 5 years I have had more fights with my insurance company over my care and treatment than I could count. I've won most--but I am (or was) a lawyer who specialized in insurance. What does the average person do? Get screwed most of the time.

    Don, you've done great on the pomalidomide. I love your attitude and your run is not over. Stay with it.