John Oliver Parses the Dangers and Stupidity of the American Health Care Act


John Oliver set his sights on health care last night on Last Week Tonight, in the wake of Paul Ryan’s Ryancare/Trumpcare/ proposal in the House last week. (Technically, it’s called the American Health Care Act, or more accurately, the American Way to Die Slowly of Medical Neglect.) As the long-awaited Obamacare repeal finally slithers its way into the light, it’s been met with bipartisan disdain, albeit for polar opposite reasons among some folks — and pretty scary reasons among those on the far right, who’re decrying the bill as Obamacare-lite and demanding something that’ll, y’know, kill poor people a bit more seamlessly.

It may not be the full inverse of Obamacare that some extreme conservatives wanted, but that’s not to say the new bill isn’t awful in its own special ways. As John Oliver notes, the vocal disdain for the bill also comes from the American Medical Association, the American Nurses’ Association, the American Hospital Association, and the AARP.

“Essentially, it seems people on both sides see the AHCA as just being ‘Shitty Obamacare,’ the way Old Navy is a shitty version of the Gap, and the way Easter, let’s just be honest, should just be called Shitty Christmas,” Oliver says. But he also points out that the bill is not necessarily “dead on arrival” — and therefore begins to parse it so that people know what to anticipate.

He cuts into the age-based tax credit plan (which would replace Obamacare’s income-based plan), noting that this would hurt the poor — before moving onto the even more detrimental Medicaid extension rollback. “That is where this bill gets really vicious,” says Oliver, emphasizing that Ryan’s excitement about this aspect should indicate just how sinister it is. “Somehow you can actually hear his erection.”

According to an analysis by the the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, AHCA could cut Medicaid’s budget by $370 billion in the next 10 years, leaving unequipped states to make up that gap. “Millions of Americans would lose coverage,” says Oliver, “And I just heard Ryan getting another erection when I said those words.”

Oliver also notes Trump’s absence surrounding this legislation, showing a clip of Kellyanne Conway declaring that the president never asked for it to be called “Trumpcare.” “Holy shit,” Oliver replies. “Trump is not clamoring to put his name on this bill, and he’s put his name on some of the shittiest products in human history…He even slapped his first and last names on Donald Trump, Jr., who looks like a six year old’s drawing of a mean bank teller.” Oliver explains that the bill (surprise!) doesn’t contain what Trump told Americans they’d be getting: The “‘something terrific’ that he promised — better coverage, lower costs, no one losing their health insurance — this bill is not it. The bill Trump is championing will increase costs for older, poor Americans, and will cause millions of people to lost coverage.”

The host points out how Republicans like Jason Chaffetz defend repealing Obamacare, who recently said, “Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice — and so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone they just love, and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest it in their own healthcare.” Of course, this legislation could see people in the top 1% getting $197,000 tax cuts, so instead we should be asking why Republicans are so dead-set on giving the least encumbered people in the entire world the equivalent of approximately 500 free iPhones each, at the expense of the lives of the poor.

And the white working class individuals Trump aimed false promises at during his campaign — the ones who widely voted for him — will be made vulnerable by this bill. “It’s like if the people of Pompei voted for the volcano,” says Oliver. Since Trump’s been relatively quiet about the legislation, Oliver wondered whether he himself knows how it’ll be detrimental — and therefore bought more ad space to air during Fox & Friends, to ensure that the president sees it.

Watch the near-20 minute segment: