On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver examined Republicans’ plans – or lack thereof – to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. During the election cycle, President Trump and the GOP focused on eliminating Obamacare, which Louisiana Rep. John Fleming once slammed as “the worst piece of legislation ever.” But as Oliver revealed in his segment, the few details they’ve revealed for a replacement are either vague or financially troubling.
The comedian surveyed the pre-Obamacare insurance landscape, when “nearly 49 million Americans had no coverage, and if you were buying for yourself, insurers could deny anyone they considered too risky. Some denied entire professions like air-traffic controllers, taxi cab drivers and scuba divers.” Oliver cut to a hilarious/depressing news segment about a baby who was denied coverage at four months old because of a pre-existing condition: being too fat.
Obamacare, Oliver explained, was an attempt to solve these obvious issues: “It made it illegal to deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions,” he said. “It let people stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. It made preventive screenings free for everyone and created marketplaces where people could shop for insurance with potential subsidies. And between all that and Medicaid expansion, more than 20 million people gained coverage, putting our uninsured rate at a historic low.”
Oliver admitted there have been major issues with the ACA, including an unreliable website, skyrocketing premiums, massive deductibles and Obama failing to keep his “empty promise” that customers could keep both their preferred doctors and health care plans.
But Republicans haven’t come up with any solutions yet. Suggested proposals include “high-risk pools (“which sound like something you’d find at Jeremy Piven’s house), health savings accounts (“very fancy piggybanks”), block grants and refundable tax credits. “A tax credit that’s so small it helps cover your health insurance the way a thong covers your dad’s ass,” the host cracked.
Oliver cut to a clip from Trump’s 2015 interview with 60 Minutes, where he promised that, under a new plan, patients could have their preferred doctors and plans – “they can have everything.”
“‘They can have everything,’ period,” the host said, mocking the line. “So everything short of that is a disaster, and insurers are going to need an answer soon, Republicans – so tick-tock, motherfuckers, because you don’t get to ‘placeholder’ your way out of this one again.”