This post is from our friend, health advocate Alex O’Connor:
Who would have thought we would have two GOP presidential candidates who have wives afflicted by MS? It certainly puts a spotlight on this disease.
Between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Romney comes out as the more compassionate of the two. But Mitt’s compassion ends at his door step when he pledges to kill the Affordable Care Act.
Neither candidate feels the pain of the families who cannot afford MS. Families like mine cannot afford health care. I am just two years into the diagnosis. I cannot get disability and Medicare is over fifteen years away. Many of us face debts that mount quickly. We fear for our home and our life savings. The medications are thousands of dollars a month. People with MS have to see many kinds of specialists at one time. Then there are the expenses of retrofitting a house for a wheelchair, buying a wheelchair, and buying a van for a wheelchair. I am fortunate that I am not there yet.
Newt buys wife number three expensive jewels from Tiffany’s while many of us struggle to pay medical bills. Mitt talks about his new mansion and makes $10,000 bets while we sweat to pay a mortgage on a fifty year old ranch house.
I would not trade my husband for either candidate. He has been truly tested. The stress for us can be more than the pressure of any political race. For us the stakes are survival. We live day to day. I have a progressive form of the disease so it is not magically going to get easier. We owe more in medical bills from January 2012 than we spent in all of 2011. People, including candidates, think MS means you can easily get government help. Both of these men know that that is not true. Both know how much caring for someone with an illness costs.
What I do know is if either one gets elected as President their policies will not help us. The President and his wife would have the best health care in the world. They would not have to struggle to pay for groceries, gas, medicine, utilities, medical equipment, clothing, and other everyday items. Both pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Neither cares about doing anything to help the ordinary man’s cost of living. They would support the needs of insurance companies, the pharmaceutical corporations, and other health care businesses who give money to their super PACs. Those of us who have only have our voices would lose under a Romney or Gingrich presidency.
What should we learn from each candidates’ reaction to their wives with MS? Newt left his ailing wife for a mistress. And Mitt is willing to stand up for his family but not for mine.