May 30th was World Multiple Sclerosis Day, literally a world-wide event in support of the more than 2 million people around the world who have MS.
Of course we all know that Ann Romney has MS, so the Romney camp announced:
Today, Romney for President released a new web video, “Soul Mate.” On World Multiple Sclerosis Day, Ann Romney and her family share their thoughts on her struggle with the disease. Ann and her sons also recount Mitt’s undying support to the woman he calls his “soul mate.”
What a sappy, self-serving campaign video. Call me crazy, but I would have used World Multiple Sclerosis Day to maybe discuss, oh I don’t know…the disease? The outrageous costs associated with it? The number of Americans who can’t afford the medication for it?
an estimated “30 percent of people with chronic, life-altering diseases like MS, and who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, are unable to afford co-payments for medications that they need.”
The MS Center reports:
“The medications used to treat MS cost between $20,000 and $30,000 per year and the cost for treatment of a disease flare-up is estimated at $12,870. MS also has high indirect costs— from lost wages to under or unemployment. The direct and indirect costs of MS are now estimated at $57,500 per patient per year.”
The Romneys could have discussed the need to make medications for chronic illnesses more affordable; the fact is,
“MS medications cost 67% less in Britain, Canada and Germany. Same manufacturer. Same medication. Same disease.”
Which is due in part to the fact that
“Medicare is prohibited from negotiating prices with the drug companies as other nations do…[while] the Veterans Administration, along with the Department of Defense, the Public Health Service, and the Coast Guard, may negotiate, and they receive dramatic discounts. “For them, [MS medicines can] …cost about $14,000 as opposed to $41,000 per year.”
According to the American Academy of Neurology,
“In other businesses, when competition goes up, prices usually go down, but it’s the opposite with drugs. When a new drug comes on the market and threatens to reduce the market share of other companies, those companies just raise their prices to protect their overall income from the drug.”
Sadly, the Romney campaign video was a feel-good exercise which focused instead on the fact that Mitt Romney stuck by his wife after her diagnosis; something any husband worth his salt would do.
In the video, their son Ben said,
“This is something they would be able to meet face on and really tackle and come out better on the other end.”
Of course, it’s easier to do that when hospitals, prescriptions and paying your bills are things you don’t have to worry about; and Mrs. Romney spends as much on a couple of silk t-shirts as one month’s dose of MS medications costs.
For Mitt Romney as a candidate, and Ann Romney as an MS sufferer in a politically prominent position to not address the millions of people who struggle with this disease was a missed opportunity. It’s as though they exist in a bubble, totally insulated from the bigger picture.
And that’s not Presidential any way you cut it.