John Oliver strikingly broke down Medicare for All proposals during the season premiere of “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday, and took a pointed dig at Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s “shit sandwich with guac” ideas for health care.
Oliver explained on his HBO show how health care in the United States currently works, and what a government-funded single-payer program like Medicare for All would do to potentially fix it.
Zeroing in on three things that often arise in the discussion of Medicare for All ― cost, wait times, and choice ― Oliver deftly explained the myths associated with each.
He also pointed out how “fucked” the current health care system is, with examples: crowdfunding campaigns for surgeries; insurance companies paying for people to fly to Mexico for cheaper medications; and patients having to choose which ailing organ is most in need of treatment.
Conservatives are not the only ones pushing back on Medicare for All, Oliver said, pointing to Buttigieg’s Medicare for All Who Want It plan.
“What Buttigieg is referring to when he says Medicare for All Who Want It is basically the public option. That is where the government doesn’t replace the private insurance system. It just introduces its own plan that would compete with it. It would definitely be an improvement over what we have now. The problem is, it would leave so much of our current insurance infrastructure with all of its problems intact,” Oliver explained.
So, that’s kind of like being offered either a shit sandwich or a slightly smaller shit sandwich with guac. I mean, I guess I’ll take the second one if you’re asking, but honestly the lack of guac wasn’t really my main fucking concern.
Oliver acknowledged that he bashes his native Britain “a lot.” But one thing it does well is the National Health Service.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never had a bad experience [with NHS], and I don’t know anyone who has. But, since moving to America, I don’t think I have met anyone who doesn’t have at least one insurance industry horror story,” he said.
The host wrapped up the segment by saying that he personally supports “some version of carefully designed universal health coverage.”
“I will own all the things about it that are difficult, including the fact that politically, it would be incredibly hard to get passed, but in return, anyone who’s resistant to significant change is going to have to own all the flaws of our current system,” he said.
“One in which, when Americans get sick, they can find themselves comparison shopping with a burst appendix, flipping a coin between lifesaving medications, and praying they can come up with a catchy enough hashtag to cover their care.”
You can watch the entire Medicare for All segment below: