When I talk to Romney people, they say--look: providing coverage for people who have been diagnosed as having chronic diseases (like, say, Ann Romney) isn't insurance: it's redistribution. And we don't like redistribution.
The view that the chronically ill in our society are moochers who have it too easy is, I think, a rather odd one...
Romney, MS, And The Stakes Of The Campaign: If you have MS, or any other serious chronic illness, you need more than a devoted spouse. You need a way to pay your medical bills…. The bills are high enough that even patients with private insurance have struggled with out-of-pocket expenses or run up against annual or lifetime limits on payments. And those patients have been, in some respects, the lucky ones. People who buy coverage on their own or through small businesses frequently end up with exorbitant rates or skimpy benefits, or can’t get coverage at all….
The Affordable Care Act will not fix all of these problems. The standards for insurance it sets allows for substantial out-of-pocket expenses, which means many patients with MS and other chronic disease will still struggle with the cost of care. But the health reform law will certainly make the situation better, by making sure almost everybody can get health insurance, no matter what their pre-existing conditions, and by making sure everybody’s coverage includes at least a minimum set of benefits and limits on cost-sharing…. These are just some of the reasons that the MS Society, like virtually every other chronic disease group, advocated for the law and endorsed it after enactment.
But patients with chronic disease like MS will lose most or all those protections if Romney becomes president and, as he has promised, he repeals the Affordable Care Act. He's promised to replace it with other reforms but, based on what he's said, his reforms won't be much of a substitute. Worse still, the tax and regulatory changes he's proposed would quite likely undermine existing insurance arrangements without providing a suitable alternative…. Those who rely on Medicare and/or Medicaid to pay for MS treatments will also struggle if Romney gets his way.
Although he has not been terribly specific about his plans for for Medicare, he’s made clear his intention to transform Medicare into a voucher program that no longer offers the same guarantee of benefits. Romney has been more specific about Medicaid: He intends to turn the program over to the states but with a lot less money….
MS belongs in this presidential campaign, along with every other major disease. But the conversation should go beyond what it says about Romney as a husband and father. It should include what it says about him as a potential president.