Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 2, Episode 32 - Medicaid Gap - full transcript

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Series II
Episode 32

Welcome, welcome, welcome
to "Last Week Tonight" !

Thank you so much for joining us !

I'm John Oliver. Just time for a quick
recap of the week,

and we begin with Syria--

until 2011, a pretty nice name
for a baby girl.

The Syrian crisis
has been going on for years,

and this week saw the latest
attempt to intervene.

Secretary of State John Kerry
is trying to broker a cease-fire

between Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad

and the rebels battling him.

Nearly 20 countries have
gathered in Vienna to do this.

Wow, nearly 20 countries

gathering in one alpine,
European country.

It's like the Winter Olympics,

but against all odds,
even more boring.

Although I'll say,
for the record, one country

at the Syrian peace talks was
conspicuous by its absence.

There aren't any Syrians at the table,

here at these talks,
neither any representatives

of the regime, nor any representatives
of any opposition groups.

There were no Syrians there !
That's like holding an intervention,

but not inviting
the person who needs help.

Listen, I just thought
this would be a much more

pleasant evening
if Doug were not here.

He an asshole when he's drunk,
which he is all the time.

He has a massive problem.

And yet, it turns out
Syria's non-attendance

did not make things any less tense.

Apparently, the Iranian
and Saudi delegations

hate one another so much,
they were positioned such

that they never needed to make eye
contact, which is absurd.

The only things you should absolutely
have to position yourself to avoid

looking at are the sun,
an explicit photograph

of your grandparents making love,
and this actual photo of Carson Daly

dressed as Linus for Halloween.

He looks like Sloth from "The Goonies"
during a Medieval leech bloodletting.

Still, by the end of the talks,

John Kerry clearly felt they'd
made some valuable progress.

I believe the diplomatic situation
is today more promising

than it has been in some time

because all of the stakeholders
came to this table.

Wait, all the stakeholders ?
There were no Syrians there !

Could you not even find one ?
Paula Abdul is half Syrian.

How hard would it have been
to fly her out to Vienna

and put her in a chair ?

She might be good
at peace-summiting.

She made peace with MC Skat Kat,
and they were opposites !

They were complete opposites !

She's clearly got skills.
That's all I'm saying.

So, let's move on. Let's move on to
Ukraine, a nation that,

like the human appendix
and your Grandma Mimi,

you only really hear about
if something's gone horribly wrong.

Nothing funny has happened
in Ukraine for years now,

but they had local elections
across their country

this week, and they were
surprisingly entertaining.

The Star Wars
figure, Chewbacca,

showed up at a polling place
during elections in Ukraine.

He was arrested with a struggle
when he couldn't produce an ID.

In his defense, does he need ID ?

He's Chewbacca.
Where would he even keep it ?

Wookies don't have in-built pockets.
But it gets even better.

Not having ID was not
the only reason he was in trouble.

He was caught campaigning on behalf
of Darth Vader,

that's the main candidate of
the Internet Party of Ukraine.

And it's actually illegal to campaign
on Election Day in the country.


Chewbacca was also accused
of illegally campaigning

on behalf of Darth Vader.
And if you are thinking...

Well, Chewbacca would never
campaign for Darth Vader.

In fact, the only time
Chewbacca even interacted

with him was in "Empire"
when Han and Chewy met up

with Lando Calrissian in Cloud City

and wandered into a trap
set by Vader and Boba Fett.

Well, first, let me just say,

I'm also glad
that high school is over.

I'm... It was rough, right ?

That was a rough time, right ?

But second... second, you're missing
the larger point here.

Darth Vader was actually
running for mayor in Ukraine,

and the arrested Chewbacca was,
frankly, not Vader's only hiccup

on Election Day, because not only
was he forced to wait in line,

he wasn't even able to vote !

Look, I'm sorry that Vader is annoyed,
but I think it's now obvious

that much of his intimidating presence

was in the original voice
because Darth Vader seems

much less powerful when he sounds like

an irritable Ukrainian man
working at a drive-thru.

And so, finally this week,
we turn to the United Kingdom,

where I am fondly known as "Who ?"

The UK's... That's so much
truer than you have any idea.

The... The UK's prime minister,
David Cameron, has had

a rough week, as he attempted to pass
a controversial tax credit reform--

controversial because of who it was
likely to hurt the most.

It's estimated around three million
low-income people will be affected

and many may lose up to £1300 a year.

Who will be hit ? Well, there's a very
clear answer.

Most of the pain will be felt
by working mothers.

That is obviously disgusting.

Not perhaps as disgusting

as that time David Cameron
reportedly stuck his dick

in a dead pig's mouth, but still,
still disgusting nevertheless.

The measure successfully
passed the House of Commons

but then hit an unexpected snag.

A major blow to the government

as its flagship welfare
reforms are defeated

in the House of Lords.
Peers say the tax credit cuts punish

the poorest workers unfairly.

Yes, the House of Lords
told David Cameron

he was being too hard on poor people.

A place that looks like this,
where lords and baronesses sit

on fancy red benches and a man wheels

a giant golden mace,
whose only practical purpose

appears to be smashing peasants,

a place with a member
whose actual name

is Lord Purvis of Tweed.

They, even they thought that
this smacked of class warfare.

Now, as the Conservative Party
realized the lords

might actually block their first
finance bill in over a century,

they started calling
in reinforcements.

Very, very packed benches
in the House of Lords today.

We can spot some conservative peers
like Andrew Lloyd Webber,

who we haven't seen in
for a very long time.

It's true.

Andrew Lloyd Webber,
seen here in his pajamas

despite having voted only 30 times

in the last 14 years,
flew in from New York

and voted in favor of cutting tax
credits for low-income families,

which must be one of the worst
decisions he has ever made,

right up there with using the name Rum
Tum Tugger for this character,

which sounds like what a cockney
alcoholic calls a hand job.

Now I should note,

I should note that
Webber denied having flown in

just for the vote, issuing a statement

saying he was there to attend
the opening night of 'Cats'

at the London Palladium
and to work with the cast,

which is clearly bullshit.

How do you work with this cast ?

They're adults dressed as cats.
What do you say ?

Okay, Jennyanydots,
when Bustopher Jones says,

'Toodlepip !' I really want
you to keep in mind

what Stanislavsky said
about affective memory.

And remember, try not to step
on each other's tails.

A-five, a-six,
a-five-six-seven-eight !

Act like cats. Act like cats
all the time.

I guess... I guess we should all
actually be thankful

that Andrew Lloyd Webber's vote wasn't
critical, not just for the sake

of low-income families in Britain,

but because it means we can
still be most angry at him

for giving the world a shaved,
shirtless, Donny Osmond

singing about Israeli children.

Children of Israel

Are never alone

That may be the worst
atrocity ever committed

against the children of Israel.

And now this.

And now, the inevitable sad

of morning show anchors
celebrating Halloween.

Halloween edition of "Daybreak."

We've all got just enough on
to really put us over the top.

Yeah. I'm Charlie Chaplin.

- Something along those lines.
- I've gotta get the gloves.

I've got some skeleton
gloves on, makin' it work.

I have another 365
to think about you in that.

in that Batman costume,
you hot little cookie.

- Thank you, thank you.
- I love it !

- Scary.
- I'll get you, my pretty.

Oh, my goodness ! Are you some kind
of headless person ?

- Who are you ?
- I'm a headless person.

You look so cute, Chasity !

- I'm super pumped about it.
- I know ! You're very excited !

I'm super pumped about
being dressed up today.

My equipment isn't working
as well, when you sit down

'cause I think it creates air pockets.

- Come on. Say hi, you guys.
- Okay, here we go.

- Look at this. Yay.
- Hi, guys. Guys, hi.

This looks like just a T-shirt.

Let's check in with Eazy-E.

Get a look at your roadways
this morning.

Good morning.
Some busy roadways out there,

and unfortunately,
we have this fatal collision

that's in the pickup stages
in Yolo County.

And now

Moving on, our main story
tonight, elections,

the only excuse
for a grown man to kiss

a stranger's baby
and not have the cops called.

As you may know, there is an important
election coming up.

We're just about a year away

from when American voters will
head to the polls and choose

the next president
of the United States.

Can Ben Carson actually win
the Republican nomination ?

Can Bernie Sanders
take Iowa and New Hampshire ?

The biggest question
right now is will

Vice President Joe Biden throw
his hat in the ring ?

Will Al Gore run for president ?

No, he won't.

And... Who gives a shit ?
It's still a year from now.

By the time it's done,
the 2016 election

will have lasted the entire
lifespan of a hamster

from birth all the way
to popsicle-stick grave.

We should not be talking
about the 2016 race

when America has
very important elections

taking place this Tuesday.

In just two days,
there are gubernatorial

and/or legislative elections taking
place in these four states.

And many other people will
be voting in local elections,

uh, or on important referenda,

like Washington State's
Initiative 1401,

which prohibit people from selling,
buying, trading, or distributing

parts of elephants,
rhinoceroses, tigers,

cheetahs, and pangolins.

And if you're wondering what a
pangolin is, let me show you.

The pangolin is
not very ferocious.

It doesn't even have teeth...

...and it's not very fast.

In fact, it has to wobble
on its hind legs and tail.

What is that ridiculous mess ?

It looks like the result
of a stegosaurus

making love to an artichoke.

And look,
if you're thinking right now,

Well, I don't live
in one of those four states

and I'm not a pangolin.
Why should I give a shit ?

Well, let me tell you, there are
American lives at stake here

because a number of these elections
could determine

whether hundreds of thousands of
people remain in, or even fall into,

what's known as the Medicaid Gap.

And I know that sounds
like a terrible clothing chain

where you can buy khaki hospital gowns

sewn by children in India,
but amazingly,

it's even worse than that.

Meet Cathie Owen, a Texas woman

who can't afford insurance,
has a family history

of colon cancer, and is desperately
saving up for a colonoscopy.

$8,000 stands between me and...

maybe another 20 years
of my life if I have colon cancer.

But I find myself now,
at 53, with grown kids,

in serious need of help.

Hard to ask for
but absolutely necessary.

That's just terrible.

$8,000 should not be the difference
between living or dying.

It should be the difference
between buying

this authenticated bass guitar
signed by Paul McCartney

and this baseball supposedly
signed by Kanye West.

And by the way,
why does that object exist ?

Is Kanye West interrupting
baseball games now ?

I'mma let you finish this pitch,

but my signature is the greatest
signature of all time ! Of all time !

And look, if your instinct is,

Wasn't Obamacare supposed to
solve this kind of problem ?

well, yes, you're right, it was.

To oversimplify things just a bit,
the idea was, under Obamacare,

people without insurance would
be split into two groups.

Those who made upwards
of 138% of the poverty line

would be eligible to buy
insurance with subsidies

up to a certain point.

And as for the poorest
Americans, Medicaid,

which had previously
generally applied to children,

their parents and the disabled,

would have been expanded
to include everyone else,

at which point, with everyone insured,
America was supposed to go outside,

brush the dead leaves
off the trampoline,

and celebrate with a backflip
and a broken tibia.

The Supreme Court even famously upheld
Obamacare in 2012.

What you may not remember
is that even that very day,

there were hints it may not have been
an unequivocal victory.

John Roberts sided
with the four Liberal justices,

voting five to four
to uphold nearly all

of President Obama's health care law.

And there's the problem,
because "nearly all"

is not a reassuring statement.

Health care is like
a pair of gym shorts.

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.

Let me explain.

The Supreme Court struck down
the part of the law

which enabled the government
to force states

to expand Medicaid,
which meant states could

choose to reject the expansion.

Even though
that would be an odd decision,

under the law, the federal government

would pay 100% of the costs
for the first three years,

eventually decreasing to 90%.

And I can't think
of anything I would not buy

if I only had to pay 10% of the price.

"Fred Claus" on DVD ?

I mean, no thank you,
but yes, I'll take it !

Vince Vaughn is always good
for 49 cents worth of yucks.

Basically, for relatively little
of their own money, states could cover

all their poorest citizens.

It was an exceptionally
favorable deal,

but guess what
many states chose to do ?

Texas will not be participating
in Medicaid expansion.

They're working hard
to change the American Dream

into the European nightmare.

This system we call Obamacare

that we now see
is gonna be a train wreck,

and I do not want
the name of Mississippi

emblazoned across that train
when it leaves the tracks.

Would you consider
expanding a broken system ?

Of course not, of course not.
It's like a drug dealer.

You give 'em your first hit free,

and then they're hooked
for years and years.

Yeah... except in this instance,
that drug addict has cancer,

the drug being pushed is chemo,
and the corner boys have

seven years of fucking med school.

20 states have so far declined
to expand Medicaid,

leaving over three million people
in the Medicaid Gap.

People in the illogical
situation of not making

enough money to receive
government assistance.

Just listen to Lashombee Hoard,
a diabetic who at one point

was forced to reuse needles
to save money.

I don't make enough money
to get the insurance

through federal government,
and then I

I make too much to get Medicaid,
and I cannot afford the insurance

that's offered at my job, so...

I'm just... hanging in the air.

It's hard to explain
how disappointing that is.

Okay, the word "disappointing"
does not quite cover it.

"Disappointing" is your child dropping
out of college to be a street mime.

Gerald, your mother's
devastated !

Do not pretend you can't hear me
inside that glass box !

I know you can hear me, Gerald !

This kind of situation
is not disappointing.

It's fucking tragic.

The frequent argument
for states refusing

the expansion is they couldn't
bear the increased cost.

Although, it is worth noting
that to their credit,

even fiscally conservative
Republican governors

like Jan Brewer, Chris Christie,

Mike Pence, and John Kasich
did expand Medicaid

in their states, despite being
firm opponents of Obamacare.

I don't support Obamacare.

I wanna repeal it,
but I did expand Medicaid

because I was able
to bring Ohio money back home

to treat the mentally ill,
the drug addicted,

and to help the working poor
get health care.

Because you oppose Obamacare
doesn't mean when you have

an opportunity to bring these
$14 billion of Ohio money

back to Ohio, that's not Obamacare.
That's Medicaid.

You know what ?
Good for him. Good for him.

Although, it's a bit weird
when accepting billions

of dollars to give
health care to poor people

is somehow a brave and noble stand

when all Kasick technically
did was see a dump truck

full of money backing into his
driveway and just not say, "Stop."

All of which brings us back
to Tuesday's elections,

because in these three states,
they could determine the fate

of Medicaid expansion.

So, let's start with Mississippi.

Their incumbent governor,
Phil Bryant, opposes the expansion.

The good news is,
his opponent has promised,

if elected, he'll expand it.

The bad news is,
his opponent is this guy.

Political experts
in Mississippi were stumped

when the long-haul trucker, who ran no
campaign to speak of

and who was essentially
unknown outside his own home

was elected as the Democratic
nominee to be governor.

- Spent how much in this race ?
- Maybe $50, $60.

- $50, $60 on the whole campaign ?
- Right.

No signs in the yard,
no bumper stickers ?

No signs, no anything.

Gray's run for the nomination
was so low-key,

he forgot to mention it
to his own mother.

I called him and I said, "Robert,
you're running for governor ?"

And I was like, "No, he would've told
us," and she's like, "No, it's him."

Holy shit !

There is a difference
between running a low-key campaign

and not having name recognition
within your own family !

And if you're wondering how on earth

he got that nomination, well,
some people have a theory.

Some think it's simply because Gray's
name was the first on the ballot.

Others say it's because he has
a traditional man's name.

He is a male, and this is Mississippi.

"He is a male,
and this is Mississippi."

It's depressing when that's all you
have to say and everyone understands.

It was an attractive goat,
and this is West Virginia.

I get it. I get it.
I don't need any more details.

We're on the same page.

It pretty clear
at this point Robert Gray is

not going to be the next
governor of Mississippi,

so let's move on to Virginia,

where the obstacle to Medicaid
expansion is their state legislature.

For anything to happen,
Democrats would first

have to gain two Senate seats,

and one of the Senate's
leading opponents

of expansion is Dick Black,
whose name, yes,

sounds like a category heading
in an adult bookstore.

But believe me, he's considerably less
fun than his name suggests.

For instance, he once sent
a thank-you letter to Bashar al-Assad

commending him for
his extraordinary gallantry

in his war against terrorists,
a letter Assad posted

to his Facebook page
which I'd say was

the worst thing he'd ever
posted on social media

if it weren't for this
genuine Instagram photo

of his windshield on a rainy day,

which Assad actually tagged
"#Rain, #Morning, #photooftheday,

#bestoftheday, #instagood,

Assad abuses hashtags almost as much
as he abuses the Syrian people.

And by the way,
Bashar al-Assad is not alone

in getting surprising
envelopes from Dick Black.

Years ago, when he was
in the House of Delegates

and sponsoring
an anti-abortion measure,

he left envelopes on Senators' desks

with little,
plastic pink fetuses inside.

Well, that is revolting.
It almost makes you wish

that Dick Black,
who is running in Virginia,

was legendary accordionist Dick Black.

I'm sure he could find
a great campaign song

from his actual album,
"A Taste of Dick Black."

"A Taste of Dick Black."

Now, is that relevant to what we were
talking about ? Absolutely not.

But you cannot deny
it's a nice palate cleanser

after you just heard
the phrase "plastic fetuses."

But perhaps the most
striking election this year

is in Kentucky, where
they did expand Medicaid,

and by all accounts,
it has worked brilliantly.

Kentucky has seen
the nation's steepest drop

in the rate of uninsured residents.

Only an idiot would try to undo that,

which brings me to gubernatorial
candidate Matt Bevin.

He is being accused of
wanting to end the expansion

and kick people off Medicaid,
something he denies.

You're hearing things I'm supposedly
saying which I've never said.

I've never said I'm gonna
kick people off of Medicaid.

All right, okay, fine.
You never said that ?

Well, I presume that means
that this footage does not exist.

The fact that we have
one out of four people

in this state on Medicaid
is unsustainable. It's unaffordable.

So, if you were governor,
you would undo

his executive order
to expand Medicaid ?

Absolutely. No question about it.
I would reverse that immediately.

The only rational explanation
is that Matt Bevin has cloned himself,

and his clone, Batt Mevin,
is even stupider than he is.

And what makes his opposition

to government assistance
especially hard to take

is that he heads up
a family bell-making business,

whose Connecticut factory sadly burned
down a few years ago.

So, what did this staunch, small
government, free-market advocate do ?

Owner Matthew Bevin vows to rebuild,
and he may be getting some help.

Senator Blumenthal vows
to explore EPA grants for cleanup,

possible small business loans,
and potential resources

from FEMA and other federal agencies.

Your kind offer to basically form
Team Bell Town is critical.

Now, to be fair, Team Bell Town did
not receive federal assistance.

Bevin did, however, get a $100,000
state grant to reopen his factory.

So, if Matt Bevin ends up winning,
I presume he'll give you health care

as long as you cover yourself in bells
and set yourself on fire.

But the real irony here
is that Bevin did not have

insurance to cover the fire
because he claimed

No company would insure the buildings
for a price that made sense.

That's right, because
the cost of insurance

was too high, he needed to turn
to the government for help.

And quite frankly, Matt Bevin,
that should ring a fucking bell !

And yet as of right now,

his race is considered a toss up.

He could win just like
Dick Black could win,

and just like
Robert Gray definitely won't.

So, on Tuesday, even if you don't live
in a state holding an election,

spare a thought for the people who do,

because the results may
ultimately affect the health

of half a million people, and of
course, one ridiculous looking animal.

And now this.

And now, sweet Jesus, they've put the
weather forecasters in costumes too.

Now, there's no rain
in the forecast today.

We're gonna be dry.
But a little bit cold out there.

We have these temperatures
in the 30s in Kentucky.

Generally mild through the city
and surrounding areas.

Four in Airdrie,
six in Okotoks and in Concord,

Bragg Creek still a little bit cooler.

We also have a couple
showers that are moving

through Northeast Nevada,
cloud cover, some showers.

Could move up along the Idaho border.

Certainly an improvement
from a bit of light rain,

and even some freezing rain
that we saw come

across the region over the last
several days for some communities.

And here comes
the seven-day forecast.

And we got a high of 60 today,
56 for you tomorrow...

And lastly tonight,
we move on to China,

a 3.7 million square-mile
panda fuckpad.

China is one of the largest
countries on Earth,

and in recent years, they've seemingly
been trying to get even larger.

Satellite photos
of China gaining ground.

Island building to cement
its claim over disputed

territories in the South China Sea.

Whichever country plants
their flags on these islands

and reefs could control
considerable resources.

It's also one of the world's
busiest shipping lanes,

with over 10 million barrels
of oil moving through

the South China Sea each day.

It's true. China is
building man-made islands

to claim territory despite
several other countries

also claiming those islands.

Although, to be honest,
I'm pretty sure they are

all going to be unsuccessful,
and I'll tell you why.

Janice in Accounting
don't give a fuck.

The US emphatically
disputes China's tactics,

and earlier this week,
sailed a warship

just 12 nautical miles from one of the
islands, prompting this response.

The possible threat of war
against the United States

leveled by a top Chinese
military official...

According to Reuters,

Chinese Admiral Wu Shengli
in a video conference

with US Admiral John Richardson said

if the US continues
with those kinds of maneuvers,

there could be
a serious confrontation.

Quote, "or even a minor
incident that sparks war."

Holy shit.
We could be going to war with China.

Before you think
China shouldn't make

a mountain out of a molehill,
I will remind you,

they just made fucking islands
out of the ocean.

But before anyone panics,
I may have a possible solution here,

and it involves this man,
Grammy winning saxophonist Kenny G.

Let me explain.
Kenny G is a really big deal in China.

In fact, throughout the country,

his song, "Going Home,"
is piped into shopping malls,

schools and train stations as a signal
to people that it's time to leave.

Seriously. This has been happening
for years. Just take a look.

When I hear this song, it makes me
think of home.

I'm used to hear it.
I think it's great.

We usually start playing this song
at 16:30.

Do you know who the musician is?

I don't know.

Is he still alive?

What do you mean
is Kenny G still alive ?

Of course he is !
The G is an immortal being,

untethered from space
and time, floating endlessly

on an eternal wave of pure smoothness.

And frankly, is it any wonder

the Chinese people love
that song so much ?

Just listen to it.

Oh, that is smooth ! That's so smooth.

It's like wearing a mink coat
in a bathtub full of lube.

It's almost
impractically smooth.

Listen, Kenny G is clearly
our secret weapon.

He has an uncommon ability
to make the people of China

stop what they're doing
and go home to relax.

If we could only harness
that power of subliminal

suggestion for good, we could all live
in a slightly safer world.

So, in the light
of this week's events,

ladies and gentlemen, please welcome

the future winner
of the Nobel Peace Prize,

Mr. Kenny G !

China, I know you want these islands.
I know you want them real bad, China,

but I'm guessing you're
feeling a whole lot more

relaxed about the whole situation
right now, aren't you ?

And I'll tell you why you are,

'cause Kenny G is pouring liquid
velvet into your ears right now !

No one can start
an international incident

to this sound, can they, Kenny G ?
Can they, Kenny ?

No, of course they can't !
They can barely move !

This is like being shot with
a silk horse tranquilizer !

Anything else you'd like
to add, Kenny G ?

No ? I didn't think so,

'cause Kenny G lets
his saxophone do the talking.

And right now, it's telling everyone
to calm the fuck down !

That's our show !

Our thanks to Kenny G for bringing
peace to the South China Sea !

See you next week ! Good night !
Play it, Kenny !

Play it, Kenny !
That is so smooth !

That is so fucking smooth, Kenny !
Oh, yes !

It's like audio syrup !
Audio maple syrup !

I feel like I'm drowning
in full-fat milk !


Series II
End of episode 32