Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, has launched the first wife-of-a-candidate website. Along with the usual it’s-exhausting-but-I-love it pieties, she writes about her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Much of the story will be familiar to anybody who has battled the disease or helped a friend or family member cope. An excerpt:
When I was first diagnosed, it was probably the most difficult time for me. I was having difficulty with my physical balance, but I would soon realize I was having just as much difficulty with my emotional balance. I was overwhelmed and had so many questions. I had always been an independent person, strong and able. I saw the disease as an invading pac man – eating away at the myelin that was protecting my nerves. It was chewing me up, but I didn’t know when or how it would spit me out.
But then she writes about her treatments, some of which are quite unusual. Reflexology, for instance, is a highly unorthodox manipulation of the soles of the feet, based on the theory that various parts of the foot are related to organs and bodily systems–the tips of the first three toes correspond to the brain, for example. And then there is equine therapy, a more widely accepted form of exercise in MS treatment.
Equine therapy has been particularly successful for me. The rhythm of a horse’s gait closely assimilates a human’s and moves the rider’s body in a fashion that enhances muscle strength, balance and flexibility. The connection both physical and emotional among horse and human is powerful beyond explanation.
She continues to say how lucky she is to have had access to access to top-tier care–and that she believes making affordable, quality care available to all is an important priority for both Mitt and her.
But how does this square with her husband’s stance on applying “conservative principles to health care?” Detailed on his site is his 10-point plan to spread health insurance to all Americans, the usual conservative checklist of reducing regulation, providing tax breaks to corporations, unleashing the power of the free market and leashing trail lawyers.
In 2005, according to the site, he said the following:
“We can’t have as a nation 40 million people — or, in my state, half a million — saying, ‘I don’t have insurance, and if I get sick, I want someone else to pay.”
— [Massachusetts] Governor Romney, USA Today, July 5, 2005
Interesting. Of course, Ann has had someone else pay for her care–she has presumably been covered by insurance paid for in part by the good people of Massachusetts.
And whether Mitt Romney’s proposal to unyoke the health care system from the weight of the federal government will result in private insurance that pays for reflexology treatments and equine therapy for the nation’s most needy citizens with MS is a question he has not been asked.
You have to wonder whether encouraging Ann to post her MS story on her spousal website was such a good idea after all.