John Oliver on healthcare repeal chaos: 'Good luck fixing that, Republicans'

The Last Week Tonight host delved into the problems facing the government as they repeal the Affordable Care Act with no real replacement in mind

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver discussed the difficulties facing the Republicans as they repeal the Affordable Care Act despite having “fucking nothing” to replace it with.

The comic started by showing the hatred aimed at the ACA, also known as Obamacare, by members of the party, including one who referred to it was the worst piece of legislation ever. He joked: “The worst piece of legislation ever – so good news, Fugitive Slave Act, you’re finally off the hook!”

Oliver then gave a brief history lesson on the importance of the act, since before it was implemented 49 million people weren’t covered and now more than 20 million people gained health coverage. But for many, the inclusion of the president’s name in the informal nickname offended them. “Would Emma Stone be as popular if her name was Blump Shartcracker?” he asked.

He also played footage of the many disastrous town hall meetings in recent weeks which have seen angry citizens attacking Republicans as they attack the ACA. In particular, the controversial issue of so-called “death panels” has been booed off stage.

“The notion of death panels isn’t just a lie, it’s Politifact 2009’s lie of the year which is impressive that in 2009, people were repeatedly told that Jason Mraz was the next big thing,” Oliver said.

But, he went on to say: “Republicans have happily complained about the flaws in the law, taken no responsibility for fixing them and, in fact, have often undermined the whole thing, but that time is now over. It’s their time to decide a plan and the clock is ticking.”

Their plan so far? As Oliver says, they have “got fucking nothing”.

“Every time you get near something resembling a Republican plan, it seems to just recede into the distance,” he said.

One of its most prominent opponents is Paul Ryan, “a man who probably tips waiters by saying, ‘Find a job the market has deemed has more value’”.

He then discussed the term block grants – “a phrase perfectly designed to bore you” – and recalled that Ryan’s previous block grants program would have kicked 20.5 million people off Medicaid in a decade.

“That’s the kind of evil so chillingly banal, you just don’t see it coming,” he said. He also spoke about high-risk pools, which “sound like something you’d find at Jeremy Piven’s house”.

Given the lack of genuine alternatives offered up so far, Oliver joked: “Basically, this is a subject so toxic, they’d rather just go abruptly silent like you’re a white person singing karaoke and you realize, uh oh, we have an N-word coming up.”

He stressed the importance of the problem. “Republicans are in a real bind here,” he said. “They need a plan, and soon, and what [HHS secretary Tom] Price and Ryan have given them so far seems to shift costs from the government to the people and from the healthy to the sick and fewer people are going to be covered, so good luck fixing that, Republicans.”

Guardian staff

The GuardianTramp

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