While major news outlets are theorizing over the minute details of the 2016 presidential race, John Oliver has been thinking, “Who gives a shit?” For select states, important gubernatorial and legislative elections will be held this week, and many results will impact the health of Americans stuck in the Medicaid gap.
“I know that sounds like a terrible clothing chain where you can buy khaki hospital gowns sewn by children in India,” Oliver says in this clip from Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. “But amazingly, it’s even worse than that.” This gap refers to people earning too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
While the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, the ruling allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. “Health care is like a pair of gym shorts,” Oliver says. “Even if it covers nearly all of what it’s supposed to, you’re still left with some problematic gaps, and terrible things can happen.”
Twenty states have chosen to reject the expansion, leaving 3.1 million Americans in the Medicaid gap, a result Oliver calls “fucking tragic.”
This week’s elections in Mississippi, Kentucky and Virginia could determine the fate of Medicaid expansion. “On Tuesday, even if you don’t live in a state holding an election, spare a thought for the people who do,” Oliver says. “Because the results may ultimately affect the health of half a million people.”