Yesterday, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan publicly released their personal medical records. They weren’t required to release this private information, and as far as we know, no one really asked them to.
(Not that we’re opposed to all of this disclosure. Mitt Romney seems to be in great shape but there are instances in which the American public has had legitimate concerns about a candidate’s health. During the 1992 election, Democratic candidate Paul Tsongas did not reveal that his cancer had returned until after his primary loss to Bill Clinton. If Tsongas had been elected, he likely would have started chemotherapy treatment before he was even inaugurated; he ultimately died in January of 1997.)
Of all the records a person has, medical records are just about the most private. In fact, they’re so private that reading Mitt Romney’s physician’s report feels a little… creepy. We get to know that Mitt has never tested positive for HIV or hepatitis, that he undergoes regular colonoscopies, and that he requires “close observation of the prostate” due to family history.
Apparently his prostate history was not so private that Mitt Romney felt uncomfortable disclosing it. But the public wanting to see his full tax returns? According to Romney, that’s just going too far, because that would require him to disclose how much he gave to charity:
Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given. This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.
Well, that’s one downside, yes. The other downside of releasing his financial information is that the public would come to realize, at the very least, just how inequitable and regressive our tax system is — and that Mitt Romney not only promotes such inequity but is the living embodiment of it. And that’s one secret he’s not willing to divulge.
Photo: Gage Skidmore