His Wife Has MS, But Romney’s Policies Will Hurt Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 05:39 pm

It is a difficult endeavor to get an accurate appraisal of a public figure from afar, and it is often the case that the person’s character in public is entirely different than their public persona. Politicians are particularly problematic to read because they, on one hand, have to satisfy their donors’ demands at the same time they hope to appear human and sensitive to the needs of voters, and in most cases the gulf between the two is so expansive that their ethical choice is driven by money and not genuine concern for the people. Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney’s record of transience on issues has earned him a reputation as an indecisive panderer who lacks resolve and commitment to any issue, and conservatives are rightly concerned that his allegiance is to whichever group funds his campaign, and it informs his true lack of ethics and commitment to a cause. However, there is one overriding trait that Americans are finally discovering about Romney and that is, in the final analysis, his loyalty is to big business and big money; for himself and his wealthy elite cohort.

It is becoming evident to many Americans that every policy Romney supports and proposes if he wins the White House benefits the wealthy and their corporations whether it is trillions in tax cuts for the top one-percent of income earners or deregulation for big business to increase their record profits. His other primary goal if elected is repealing the Affordable Care Act to help the health insurance industry continue practices that are detrimental to consumers, but extremely profitable for themselves. Promising to repeal the ACA may be attractive to ignorant teabaggers and Americans who still object to healthcare insurance for all Americans and the myriad protections the health law guarantees, but to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Romney’s plan is an assault they cannot support.

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Most Americans know that Mrs. Willard was diagnosed with MS in 1998, and that she has been helpful in raising awareness and money for the malady, but her husband’s intention to repeal the healthcare law has engendered opposition from MS advocates who say “Romney’s policies would be detrimental for MS sufferers,” and they are actively opposing Willard’s proposals. It is unknown if the Romney’s advocated for MS funding for research before Mrs. Romney was diagnosed (probably not), but what is known is that Willard disapproved of or cut funding for MS research  within seven months of becoming governor of Massachusetts. Earlier this year, the Romney’s released a campaign video reflecting on hearing Mrs. Willard had MS, and they ended the video with a plea  for people to donate to the National MS Society. Willard, in typical fashion, expects other people to contribute to find a cure for MS, but opposes a healthcare law that gives MS sufferers financial relief and assistance to lead a productive life. Romney has proposed his own solution to fixing healthcare in America if he is successful repealing the ACA, but like everything he supports, it offers absolutely nothing for the American people and everything for the insurance industry.

Republicans have talked about replacing the ACA with their own solution for the nation’s rising healthcare costs and Romney concurs that capping damages in malpractice lawsuits is the ultimate fix that accomplishes little more than enriching the industry the GOP is beholden to. Romney’s other bright idea is to transform Medicaid, the government health care plan for children and the poor, into a block grant that ultimately cuts millions from the program. However, cutting assistance for children and the poor fits in with Willard’s statement that he “doesn’t worry about the poor,” and why should he when there are profitable corporations to enrich. The MS Society is now aware that Romney also does not worry, or care, about the plight of victims of MS, or uninsured Americans.

According to the MS Society, the illness can cost sufferers about $70,000 a year, with half attributed to medical costs which is why the new health care law is so critical to people with MS. As an aside, on his 2010 income tax return, Romney listed $77,000 as a business expense tax write-off for his wife’s Dressage horse they claim is for MS therapy. The ACA eliminates lifetime limits on insurance coverage that someone with MS can quickly burn through according to vice president for federal government relations at the National MS Society.  Ted Thompson says “there are so many provisions in the health law that are beneficial to people with chronic illness, including MS, that a full repeal would be a major setback,” and that the ACA  has measures that help chronic illness sufferers live better lives. Thompson cited requirements for insurers to cover habilitation services like physical and occupational therapy that slows the progression of chronic diseases and keeps people out of government programs and in the workforce. Capping malpractice claims accomplishes nothing to help chronic illness sufferers, or any consumer paying for healthcare insurance. In fact, so-called “tort-reform” does not eliminate pre-existing conditions, provide preventative medical services such as cancer screening or well-baby assistance, or keep children on their parent’s health plans until age 26. Limiting malpractice claims does not help over 30-million Americans gain access to affordable healthcare insurance, but like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “uninsured Americans are not the issue;” industry profits, on the other hand, are of paramount importance.

Romney’s plan to cap malpractice damages will certainly benefit the bottom line of insurance companies, but as a replacement for the President’s signature healthcare law, it does nothing for consumers or tens-of-millions of uninsured Americans. It is another in a long list of examples of Romney’s purpose for seeking the presidency; to benefit the ultra-wealthy and big business at the expense of the rest of America. That he disapproved or cut-off funding for MS research informs that he could not care less about whether chronic illness sufferers wither away and die, or live a productive life like Mrs. Willard does because she is rich. For the record, as governor of Massachusetts, Willard also disapproved cervical/breast cancer benefits, prostate cancer prevention and treatment, universal newborn hearing screening, school breakfast pilot program, child abuse prevention, certified nurse’s aide training scholarships, programs for the indigent mentally ill, and Multiple Sclerosis research.

It is no wonder Romney is terrified of his record as governor and avoids mentioning anything he presided over including the only decent thing he accomplished; universal health care. His ethics are beyond suspect; he has none whatsoever and it portends a president solely owned, indebted to, and controlled by corporations. In fact, in the McCain opposition file on Romney the conclusion was that he is a serial panderer with no conviction except acquiring wealth at the expense of Americans’ jobs which is why John McCain still contends former half-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin was the better candidate for vice-president.

Romney’s public and private persona is becoming common knowledge to the American people and they find him lacking in every respect save one; he is white. The reality is that Romney is a perfect fit for the Republican agenda of catering to the wealthy at the expense of the American people, and he is as devoid of ethics as the rest of the GOP. One thing is certain, if Republicans are successful in repealing the ACA, millions of Americans will be thrilled to know that in its place there will be limits on malpractice claims, and continuing lifetime limits, pre-existing conditions, unwarranted premium increases, no preventative care provisions, and 30 million uninsured Americans. However, it will not affect Mrs. Willard’s MS because she has a Dressage horse and unlimited funds to maintain  her health and wealthy lifestyle, and her husband will have the insurance industry’s eternal gratitude for limiting malpractice claims if he is elected as the most unethical president in American history.

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