Without Millions of Dollars in Wealth, Chronic Illness Can Destroy a Family. Does Mitt Romney Understand This? And Does He Care?

VIDEO: Ann Romney May Not be Able to Pay for Treatment of her Chronic Illness if her Husband is Elected

The Romney campaign is out with this new ad talking about Ann Romney’s Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and her ‘soul mate’ Mitt’s reaction and subsequent handling of her chronic illness. Unfortunately it doesn’t say a word about what ‘President’ Romney would do for people with the illness.

The Romney campaign is out with a new ad talking about Ann Romney’s Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and her ‘soul mate’ Mitt’s reaction and subsequent handling of her chronic illness.

Their children weigh in. There is a link to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and for those of us like Ann, with chronic auto-immune diseases, it’s all very touching and nice.

Unfortunately it doesn’t say a word about what ‘President’ Romney would do for people like Ann and I. Not. One. Single. Word.

Since Mitt isn’t my soul mate I’m going to guess he won’t be there to hold my hand or see me through to the other side. Or to make sure he’ll stand by me since I too can’t do the things I once did.

My husband has done the same as Mitt Romney thus far, but he’s not running for President. So as of right now, Aaron has done just as much for me (politically) if not more than Mitt Romney.

What we do know is candidate Mitt would repeal the Affordable Care Act– the groundbreaking legislation that would make sure my and Ann’s disease would not mean we’d lose our insurance coverage, or making sure there is an end to lifetime limits of benefits.

I’m sure Ann and Mitt understand how expensive a chronic auto-immune disorder is…right? They know that those of us who have worked (be it as stay-at-home moms or in the traditional work force- I have done both) now can not bring home that paycheck. They get that, right? I mean…what with this sweet video showing me their love, they surely understand how hard it is financially.

My doctor has told me I have a choice: I can go back to work and get sicker, lose more organs and potentially my life…or I can accept that my illness has rendered me disabled and become content with taking care of my young children as best I can while receiving IV infusions several times per month.

Ann and Mitt get that, I am sure…because they live it. I mean, that’s what the video tells me. Certainly they understand the loss of my paycheck because of my disease has been a terrible burden on my family. And certainly they understand, given Ann’s condition, that the medical bills piling up (with our very good insurance) and the loss of income means families like ours need things like long-term disability programs – be they social security or private insurance through our former jobs.

They SURELY understand that, right? So Mitt would CERTAINLY, given his love of his soul mate and total understanding for what a chronic auto-immune disease does to a family, endorse what the National MS Society endorses in ‘Obamacare’ – right? Because he and Ann GET IT. They GET how hard it is. They GET how much we suffer. THEY GET IT… because their new VIDEO TELLS ME SO.

Oh wait. The new video doesn’t say that. So let’s try and figure out what Mitt would do..since he understands.

As it turns out his ideas for health care would leave people like Ann and I out in the cold. Compared with the Affordable Care Act, Romney’s plan would leave millions of people dropped from their employer plans. Wow. What a plan for his soul mate and those of us like her! How …caring?

I applaud the Romney campaign for releasing a campaign video giving people information on how to donate to an auto-immune disease organization that endorsed ‘Obamacare.’ But I would clap a whole lot louder if the candidate himself would stand up for people like his wife and myself and support policies that wouldn’t leave us on the street.

Perhaps the Romneys don’t understand because they live in a different world than the rest of us. The one where it actually matters if your spouse loses her paycheck and has to fight to get disability (my fight is going on eight months now) in order to pay the mortgage.

You see Mitt and Ann, after Aaron and I cried together at my diagnosis, and did the same things you two did- we then had to do something else: we had to figure out how in the hell we were going to keep a roof over our heads and food in the mouths of our children and ourselves. Not to mention the thousands upon thousands of dollars in medical costs for my treatment.

So you can take your new ad and get all teary while viewing it in your screening room at your ocean view mansion with its car elevators, while we continue to fight for my disability payments and send in paperwork and documentation to hopefully be approved for a home loan modification. A part of the process you seem to leave out of that touching video.

You also seem to leave out how a chronic illness financially destroys a family, bankrupts millions, leaves many of us wondering how in the hell we are going to pay for treatment and the bills. If I sound a bit upset, it’s because I am. Your video just slapped me in the face, hard.

Do not relive with me and my family how hard it is to get a devastating diagnosis and show me what a stand up husband you are and then offer me NOTHING about what you would do as President for those of us like you and your soul mate.

That’s why we will be fighting for President Obama who has actually outlined and enacted policies endorsed by not only the charity you promote at the end of that video, but almost every other auto-immune organization in existence. Because his policies will HELP families like mine.

It takes more than a soul mate to get through multiple sclerosis or lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. For those of us fighting the battle, like Ann, it is a daily struggle you seem to not fully grasp.

I’m sure glad President Obama does.

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  • labman57

    Many conservatives indignantly point out that the United States has the best medical care available anywhere in the world. Quite possibly true, but this totally misses the point.

    If people cannot afford to pay for health insurance coverage, let alone their own preventative medical treatment, then as far as medical care availability is concerned, there’s no there there.

    One of the measuring sticks of a civilized society is the extent to which it provides basic necessities (food, shelter, preventative and critical medical care) for those unable to provide for themselves or their families.

    God help you if you get laid off from your job and thus lose your health benefits, and then discover that you or a family member has a life-threatening chronic health condition. Or are denied coverage due to a “pre-existing condition”. Or are a low wage earner with no benefit plan and cannot afford the skyrocketing insurance premiums.

    Can’t afford treatment? Go away and die quietly.

  • coralsea

    Erin — first, thanks for the column, it is wonderfully well-put.  And I wish you all the best in your treatment and your adaptation to a difficult life-path.  


    Although Mr. Romney is at the far end of the “can’t-(or won’t)-relate-to-anything-that-I-don’t-personally-experience” spectrum, I am constantly surprised by how many “average Americans” who have been fortunate enough to have–and have kept–good jobs and insurance continue to be totally ignorant of just how bad the chronically ill, the acutely ill, and the uninsured and underinsured can have it.  Despite all of the media coverage, many of them still don’t get the fact that if they get a catastrophic illness, they are likely to be dropped like a hot rock from their job (your employer can come up with another excuse for canning you–trust me, I know) and, after the COBRA coverage has run its course (if you were able to afford COBRA), you are on your own.  I will never understand why these folks are unable to understand that such situations could befall them at any time–UNTIL THEY FINALLY DO BECAUSE IT DOES HAPPEN TO THEM.  At which point, they are as indignant as all get-out and can’t imagine how this could happen to them.


    We are living in strange times here in America.  Rage-aholics and greedy raiders inhabit one side of a four-sided society, with tea-partiers, conspiracy theorists, and religious loonies on the second side, progressives on the third side, and the navel-gazing remnants of the middle/professional class on the fourth side.  I understand the first three sides (even though I don’t care for the first two) –but what the heck is wrong with the folks on the fourth side, who, despite all of the horror stories about the uninsured or underinsured, or even of those who have insurance, but the co-pays still wipe them out, still don’t get it?   They have to have seen these stories.   Are they so totally divorced from the lives of others that they have to be slapped upside the head in order to understand how high the stakes are in the healthcare debate (and many other debates in this country)?  Or are they so cowed by the ragers and the greedy-raiders that they are afraid to speak out, lest they lose some of the few privileges they still have?


    Either way, as a progressive, I am of the opinion that if we want to keep Romney out of office (and get rid of some of the more egregious governors, senators, and congress persons) — and if we want to reclaim some semblance of fairness and dignity for all Americans — residents and citizens alike — we need to do something to stir the navel-gazers out of their seeming apathy.  Unfortunately, we can’t win the elections only on our own, and the first two groups clearly don’t care whether others are crushed under the wheels of corporate profits as long as they get their ideological or greed-fueled ways.