Pre-Existing Conditions: The Tiniest Third Rail

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 13 2011 1:24 PM

Pre-Existing Conditions: The Tiniest Third Rail

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Tim Pawlenty had a hungry press corps to himself this morning (I counted three reporters from the Washington Post , alone) when he toured Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics, which fits amputees for all matter of artificial limbs. The former governor met a Vietnam veteran who was fitted with legs that let him race on a treadmill, and watched another amputee demonstrate a bluetooth-reliant arm and hand that moved with small commands from his legs. He also met Carter Mead, who scampered around the facility with prosthetics that had race car-worthy flames drawn on them. His mother, Kelli, said he was born with four limb defects, had been fitted at a young age, and really loved what he was getting.

Of course, limb defects are pre-existing conditions. Mead wondered aloud whether it was such a good idea to repeal, flat-out, the Affordable Care Act, what with its ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Dissent at a campaign event! How would Pawlenty respond? Pretty painlessly, actually.

"I've said many times that I hope one thing everyone can agree on is pre-existing conditions," said Pawlenty to reporters after the event. So the ban wasn't one of his problems with the PPACA? "No."

It wasn't a problem that other amputees had, either. I talked briefly to Bob Wilson, who works with the Amputee Golf Association, and works with Next Step to meet new amputees and tell them what their options are. "They see me walk in the room," he said, pointing to his extremely flexible prosthetics, "and they see they'll be okay."

What did he think of PPACA? "Flush it," he said. "I don't even want to know what other crap is in there. I wouldn't be surprised if they sneaked a gun ban in there."

"We've gotta get off of this goddamn welfare state," he continued. "I don't give a crap how. We've got to do it."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.