Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 4, Episode 3 - Obamacare Replacement - full transcript

John Oliver continues to talk about ventures of US President's office. He also talks about the pros and cons of Obamacare, and the upcoming Obamacare replacement plan.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -


Welcome to Last Week Tonight.

I'm John Oliver.
Thank you so much for joining us.

Unfortunately we must begin, again,
with President Trump.

Two words that continue
to sound unnatural together

like walrus porn
or Tilda Swinton.

Trump visited the Museum of African
American History and Culture,

promising to unite
a divided country.

If you didn't hear that,

it's because it happened on
the same day he did this.

Trump administration laying out plans
to crack down on illegal immigration,

sparking a steep increase
in deportations

and stoking fears
among immigrants.

That's upsetting,
even by Trump's standards.

Normally, when he wants
to terrify an immigrant,

he texts Melania:
"coming home early. Feeling horny."

This new plan gives ICE agents
much greater latitude

in who they can pursue
and deport.

It includes hiring 15 000 new
border patrol and immigration officers.

Which might be difficult,
as they've already had so much trouble

finding qualified applicants,
there are 2 000 vacancies.

Seems immigration agent
is the hardest job to fill,

after personal assistant
to Mariah Carey.

I want a limo for my dog and mirrors
that make me look like it's 1997.

Go get me them.

Many people were alarmed,
and it didn't help

when the president seemed
to escalate the stakes out of nowhere.

We're getting bad dudes
out of this country

and at a rate
that nobody's ever seen before.

And they're the bad ones.
It's a military operation.

First, please stop using
the phrase "bad dudes".

You're trying
to wean yourself off "bad hombres",

but it still feels like
a lateral move.

What was that you said
about a military operation ?

That is a casual way to mention
you've deployed the armed forces.

Actress Melissa McCarthy was on hand
to set the record straight,

with the world's
least convincing explanation.

President used it as an adjective.
It happens with precision.

Okay, Mel, but presidents need to be
precise with language.

When commander in chief,

term "military operation"
has consequences.

It's not just a meaningless word
you can throw around,

like "consultant"
or "superfood".

Please, don't think that Trump just
went after immigrants this week.

He targeted children, too.

Schools and students
are facing uncertainty

after Trump
withdrew federal guidance

on transgender bathroom use
in public schools.

Trump is delivering on his promise

"Make Entire Subsets
Of The American Citizenry"

"Concerned About Their Safety
And Well-Being Again !"


This is gratuitous
in so many ways:

the guidelines
had been suspended last summer,

there's a Supreme Court case
that may settle these issues.

Guidelines recommended
that students be called

by their preferred name
and pronoun,

be allowed to use the restrooms
consistent with their gender identity

and be able to wear a tux to prom,
or a dress in yearbook photos.

If the government wants to address
a problem with yearbooks,

maybe ban quotes
by Dave Matthews.

Really, Dylan ?
You've got so much to say ?

Evidence is stacking up
to the contrary.

As we've discussed before,
anti-transgender rules

are almost always rooted
in deep sexual fear-mongering.

The idea they would cover predators
to sneak into ladies' locker rooms,

despite the fact there is
no evidence of that happening.

What there are reports of
are of Trump himself barging in

on women and teenagers
who competed in his pageants,

something that he both denied
and been recorded on tape bragging.

I'll go backstage before a show
and everyone's getting dressed,

no men are anywhere
and I'm allowed to go in

because I'm the owner
and therefore I'm inspecting it.

They're with no clothes.
"Is everybody okay ?"

You see incredible looking women,
I get away with things like that.

Yeah, you do seem
to sort of get away with it.

If we want to protect
women from predators,

let's stop wasting our time
with pointless bathroom laws

and launch a military operation
to ban the president himself

from women's rooms nationwide.

And now this !

Some random thoughts from
WCBS2 meteorologist John Elliott.

So I am told that if the light
would hit him just right,

Thomas Jefferson had red hair,
your first redheaded president.

Our buddy Joe Iavelli ran
in the New York City Marathon,

didn't break any records,
but he finished, so way to go.

That is great.
Julie's husband.

One, two, three, four...

Four tattoos in the studio
and there's only 2 people here.

I'm kidding. Do you have a tattoo ?

I'd love to do a duet with
John Lithgo. Terrific singer.

I love Ice-T in the commercial
where they... No, it's lemonade.

I love clip-on ties, remember
clip-on ties when you were a kid.

I posted a picture of my mom on
Facebook this week. 600 likes.

Does anyone wear
Ban roll-on anymore ?

With pizza it's all a function of
geometry and the thickness

and then the angle, so yeah
there's really an art to that.

"Jerry Maguire" or "Weekend
at Bernie's" ? I can't decide.

Moving on.
Our main story tonight

is the Affordable Care Act,
also known as Obamacare.

Or, in emails from your uncle as:

"Forward Forward: The Communist
Takeover Of American Values !"

For years now, Obamacare has been
the bane of Republicans' existence.

If Obamacare is ever implemented,
we will never recover from it.

It's an affront on the morality of
the provision of American healthcare.

Obamacare is the worst piece
of legislation ever.

Yes, the worst legislation ever.

So, good news, Fugitive Slave Act !
You're finally off the hook !

Now, with Republicans controlling both
the White House and Congress,

they've gone from talking about
repealing Obamacare to do it.

House and Senate passed budget
resolutions to start the process.

At least one member
is giddy about it.

A little over six years ago
I lived in a pretty decent house.

One day I heard a knock on the door.
And before I knew it

my colleagues
had let a goat loose in my house.

For six years that goat has been
messing in and destroying my house.

I want to renovate my house,
but I have to get the goat out

before it does any more damage.

It makes no sense to start fixing up
until we get the goat out.

Voting for the fiscal year '17 budget
resolution gets this goat out.

That is so specific, no way that
goat incident didn't happen.

I bet he brings it up all the time.

NAFTA is like when
you're half asleep one morning,

you put your arm around what you think
is your wife, but it's that goat again.

You wonder: why is
it wearing my wife's perfume ?

Get this goat out of my house, y'all !

Republicans have been dealing
with an unexpected problem:

constituents at town halls, furious
that Obamacare might be taken away.

I can tell you
three members of my family,

that would be dead

and homeless if it was not for ACA.

Yes. That annoying Obamacare
goat in the house

turned out to be a licensed physician
who's been saving lives,

and a lot of people do not want her
to go anywhere.

I said her. You assumed
that goat doctor was a man ?

What is wrong with you ?

Hashtag Lady Goats Can Be Doctors,
hashtag Feminism.

That tone is a big shift, because
if you remember eight years ago ?

People were terrified
about what Obamacare might mean.

It's a stepping stone for a takeover,
like Hitler did in Germany.

Obama's a Marxist, socialist.

No ! Don't do this to us !

You dirty thieves.

You wanna kill my grandparents,
you come through me first.

President Obama did not want
to kill that guy's grandparents.

He wouldn't have used health insurance.
He'd have just ordered a drone strike

and then declared them enemy
combatants, that was his style.

Let's look at Obamacare.
What it does, what needs fixing,

and how Republicans plan
to replace it.

It's worth remembering how bad
things were before it was passed.

Nearly 49 million
Americans had no coverage,

insurers could deny
anyone they considered too risky.

Some denied entire professions,
like air traffic controllers,

taxi cab drivers
and scuba divers.

And this baby was denied
coverage at four months old

for an unexpected
pre-existing condition.

His parents decided to apply
for individual health coverage,

but they were turned down.

Not because of his age,
but because he was too fat.

Am I supposed to put my child
on a diet, put him on a treadmill ?

He's an infant.

You're upset. He's never going to
lose the weight with that attitude.

Obamacare was an attempt
to solve those problems.

It made it illegal to deny people
because of pre-existing conditions,

it let people stay on their
parents' plans until age 26,

made preventive screenings free
and created marketplaces

where people could shop
for insurance, with subsidies.

Between that and Medicaid expansion,
20 million people gained coverage,

putting our uninsured rate
at a historic low.

For many people,
like this woman,

whose treatment for breast cancer
was covered under Obamacare,

the law was too closely associated
with the man responsible for it.

I absolutely detest hearing
the words Obamacare.

Detest it !

It just should've been given
a more proper name.

Why be named
after our president ?

It did have a proper name, the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act.

That shows you: it matters
what people call something.

Would Emma Stone be as popular if
her real name was Blump Shartcracker ?

No, that's why it's good
that she changed it.

Some of the early accusations
against Obamacare still linger.

Republican Bill Akins, in Florida,
threw out this classic at a town hall.

Here's the problems I have
with the Affordable Healthcare Act.

There is a provision in there
that anyone over the age of 74

has to go before what is
effectively a death panel.

Yes, they do.
It's in there, folks.

You're wrong.

Okay, children.
All right, children.

It is a death panel.

Who here has read the affordable
healthcare plan ? I doubt that.

What the fuck
are you talking about ?

The notion of "death panels"
isn't just a lie,

it's Politifact's 2009
"Lie of the Year".

Impressive, considering that in 2009,
America was also repeatedly told

Jason Mraz was
the next big thing.

We were lied to
in a big way there.

Obamacare is not perfect.
It had and has serious flaws.

and the president
made a very misleading promise.

If you like your doctor,
you will be able to keep your doctor.

If you like your healthcare plan,
you'll be able to keep it, period.

No one can promise that.
Insurers drop policies

and doctors change networks
all the time.

That is as empty a promise as
a father telling his daughter:

"I will always keep you safe,

Really, Dad ? What about bees ?
What about angry swarms of bees ?

Be honest: "I'll try to keep you safe,
but bees are not fuckin' around."

There've been practical problems:

some plans have deductibles so high,
they're unusable.

Premiums have increased sharply
and some insurers dropped out.

Although that was partly thanks
to Republicans gutting a program

that helped protect insurers
from unexpected losses.

Republicans have happily complained
about the flaws in the law,

taken no responsibility for fixing them
and have often undermined the thing.

But that time is now over.
It is their turn to present a plan.

Insurance companies are deciding

whether to even offer Obamacare
plans next year.

There are ads on TV right now
suggesting that Republicans

have been working
on something special.

Imagine a new path forward:

health insurance that provides more
choices and better care at lower costs.

House Republicans
have a plan to get there !

Without disrupting
existing coverage.

Giving your family
the health care it deserves.

That sounds nice,
but it is a little worrying

that that ad is encouraging you to
"imagine" a better health care plan.

Close your eyes.
Dream of a better way forward.

Tell us what you came up with.
Because we've got nothing.

If you think I'm kidding,
that ad ends with

This is the entire website:
a single page,

with two sentences of text
and the fucking ad again !

And if you click on the ad,
it'll send you back to the website,

and so on, until you
don't even want healthcare,

you're begging
for the sweet relief of death.

Every time you get near something
resembling a Republican plan,

it seems
to recede into the distance.

In January, Trump said he was
working on one

"very much formulated down
to the final strokes."

Tom Price, his secretary of health
and human services,

was asked about it
at his confirmation hearing.

President said he's working with you
on a replacement plan for the ACA,

nearly finished and to be revealed
after your confirmation.

- True ?
- It's true that he said that, yes.

It's funny because the president lies
to us with no repercussions !

I see what the joke
we're laughing at is. Dear !

If you need any more proof of how
unprepared Republicans are,

let me show you one of the draft bills
they circulated.

It is seven pages long, and it ends
abruptly with the world "placeholder".

One member of Congress
tried to spin that as a positive.

This placeholder provides
the clearest signal

we're working with patients
and health care groups

to draft language that balances
health status protections

with necessary risk mitigation tools.

If your spouse gave you a birthday
card that said "placeholder",

they're not working on best language
to express their feelings for you.

They forgot your birthday, because
they're fucking Sharon from the office.

Deep down,
I think you know that.

The best sense we have
of what Republicans want to do

is from previous plans
from both Price and Paul Ryan

and from these talking points

that Ryan gave out ahead
of the Congressional recess.

You are going to be hearing phrases
from this a lot in the coming months,

so let's take a moment
to understand what they mean.

Let's start with the one
Ryan has been talking up a great deal.

What we believe
is the right way to go,

are refundable tax credits for people
to be able to buy affordable coverage.

Yes, refundable tax credits.
Free money to help pay your premiums.

Surprising, coming from Paul Ryan,
a man who probably tips waiters

by writing on the check: "find a job
the market deemed has more value".

This document suggests tax credits
would be based on age, not income.

Meaning theoretically,
61-year-old billionaire Bill Gates

would get a bigger subsidy than
a 27-year-old making minimum wage.

Gates does not need that money !

He'll blow it on more $10 haircuts
and orthopedic sweaters.

The risk is subsidies ending up too
small for who need them the most.

Tom Price once proposed a credit
1 200 dollars to peoples aged 18-35

and 3 000 dollars to people 50 and up
which is roughly a third the cost

of the most bare bones plans
on the market today.

A tax credit that small
helps cover your health insurance

the way a thong
covers your dad's ass.

It doesn't and there's something
fundamentally wrong about that.

Now the next big term
is "health savings accounts" or HSA's.

Tax-free accounts where you can save
money to pay health care costs.

Republicans love these things.

Why do these savings accounts...
Why are you pushing so hard for them ?

Why do you think they're effective ?

You're spending your own money
as opposed to someone else's.

It's like when my daughter goes
to the mall with my credit card

or when I go to the mall
with my credit card.

Our purchases come back different.

Setting aside that healthcare is
nothing like shopping at the mall,

shouldn't you come back
with different purchases

regardless of whose
credit card you have ?

If you came back
with a tongue ring,

a bottle of Manic Panic hair dye
and a "yas queen" crop-top,

it would raise questions having
nothing to do with healthcare.

The key problem with HSAs
should be obvious here:

they're great for rich people,
but if you're too poor to save,

or you get sick enough
to blow through what you've saved,

you're not going to be covered and
you have that thong problem again.

People understand that.

Listen the reaction when Joni Ernst
brought them up at a town hall.

But health savings accounts,
it isn't...

That is an appropriate reaction
when your problem is:

"I don't have enough money"
and the proposed solution is:

"if you ever do,
here's a very fancy piggy bank."

Let's move to another key idea: block
grants. A phrase designed to bore you

'cause it combines "block",
the most nothing shape,

with "Grant",
your co-worker's nothing boyfriend.

"I don't believe we've met."
Yes we have. Six times. I'm Grant.

Paul Ryan wants to use block
grants to fund Medicaid,

which provides health care to
the poorest Americans.

He wants to stop guaranteeing
to pay each state a percentage

of their Medicaid costs and send
them a fixed block of money.

If costs start to rise and the block
grant doesn't keep pace...

It's that thong...

A few years ago Ryan proposed
a block-grant program

that a study estimated could kick
20,5 million people off Medicaid

over a decade.

That's a kind of evil so chillingly
banal you don't see it coming.

It's like if you found out that
Grant was a serial killer.

I kill in plain sight, for none can
remember my face. I am Grant.

We've now met seven times.

The final big talking point here.
I'll let Paul Ryan explain.

State high-risk pools are a smarter
way of guaranteeing coverage

for people
with pre-existing conditions.

High-risk pools. They may sound like
something you find at Jeremy Piven,

but they isolate the sickest people
in their own insurance group.

This brings everyone else's insurance
rates down.

But there is an obvious problem here:
those pools are going to be expensive,

which is fine, if the government
subsidizes them properly.

If it doesn't, that's right:
it's thong o'clock everybody.

Three years ago, a study estimated
that adequately funding high-risk pools

to maintain Obamacare
levels of coverage,

would cost $178 billion a year.

Guess how much Tom Price set aside ?
Three billion over three years.

That is one 178 of what is needed.

Imagine you asked for 178 pounds
of grade-A premium hunk.

Instead of Chris Evans, someone
brought you six of his severed toes.

Tom Price's plan
is six severed hunk toes.

Those are the four big bullet points.

The most revealing thing is not what's
inside it, but what is not in there.

There is no replacement
for the individual mandate.

Obamacare's requirement that you
have insurance or pay a penalty.

It is the thing
that people hate the most.

The individual mandate
is unconstitutional.

We've got to get rid
of the individual mandate,

a freedom killing part of the ACA.

That should be repealed.
Get rid of the individual mandate.

Who's got two thumbs and hates
the individual mandate ? This guy !

But the mandate keeps younger,
healthier people in the system,

which is crucial to lower
the cost for everyone else

and to keep in popular provisions,
like not punishing fat babies.

Republicans' solution is to make it
painful for you to get insurance again

if you drop it at any point,
for any reason.

They use the positive-sounding term
"continuous coverage incentive",

but it has to involve
some penalty.

Maybe a higher premium
or even denial of coverage.

They are not keen to talk
about details.

Remember the "placeholder" ?
That was in place of an explanation

of the continuous
coverage incentive.

This is a subject so toxic,
they'd rather go abruptly silent,

much like when you're a white person
singing karaoke and you realize:

"we have an n-word coming up."

Republicans are in a real bind:
they need a plan and soon,

and what Price and Ryan
have given them so far

seems to shift costs from
the government to the people,

and fewer people are
going to be covered.

Good luck fixing that, Republicans !
There's one more problem here.

Remember the shit you gave Obama
for saying you can keep your doctor ?

Let me remind you what Trump
promised that you are going to do.

Everybody's got to be covered.
This is an un-Republican thing

because they say: "no, the lower
25 percent, they can't afford private".

- Universal health care.
- I'll take care of everybody.

I don't care if it costs me votes.
Everybody will be taken care of.

- Who pays for it ?
- The government.

We'll save so much money
on the other side.

It's going to be a private plan
and people are going to negotiate

with different competition,
with great companies

and they can have their doctors,
they can have everything.

"They can have everything."
Period !

Anything short of that is a disaster.
Insurers are gonna need an answer,

so tick-tock, motherfuckers,

'cause you don't get to "placeholder"
your way out of this one again.

And now, this.

WCBS-2 Meteorologist John Elliott
drops some famous names.

How weird, my nephew, Will Carr,
hangs around with John Grisham's kid.

My beloved, late father's first cousin,
growing up, they were buddies,

he was a close friend
of Ronald Reagan's.

Bridget Moynahan watches Channel 2.
She's probably watching now.

Sweet as they come
and we appreciate her tuning in.

I love Madam Secretary.
I met Tim Daly at an auto show.

Lionel Richie is a nice guy.
He's been in here.

I like the Peyton Manning commercials.
He seems like such a nice guy.

I met Norman Lear in the cafeteria
here. Nicest guy ever.

And we have pictures of some
of the great Norman Lear hits.

It was a very nice moment.
Nice guy. He had a salad.

And finally:
a few words about the Supreme Court.

America's most respected
adult-assisted living community.

As you probably know,
there is currently a vacancy,

following the death
of Antonin Scalia.

A few weeks ago,
Trump announced his nominee.

President Trump unveiling Neil Gorsuch
as his nominee to the Supreme Court.

Yes, Neil Gorsuch,
a man so blandly handsome,

it feels like you saw him on page 14
of any JC Penney's catalog

or as second lead
in a erectile dysfunction ad.

He is aggressively Caucasian.
He's like a white Tim Kaine.

There is a lot for Democrats to be
annoyed about here:

not only is Gorsuch conservative,
Republicans basically stole this seat.

Merrick Garland, who Obama
nominated eleven months ago,

wasn't even given a hearing.

The debate is whether
to filibuster Gorsuch

or confirm a man whose place
on the Supreme Court

will always have
an asterisk on it.

Which puts our show
in a tricky position, as well.

We have an all-dog Supreme Court
to reenact oral arguments,

since cameras are not
allowed in the courtroom.

When Merrick Garland was nominated,
we held a vote to choose his dog

and you, the people, chose Molly.

Molly never got to serve,
she's on a farm upstate

with a lot of grass and toys,
not unlike the actual Merrick Garland.

We should be finding a dog for
Gorsuch. We're not going to do that.

To reflect the fact that Gorsuch's
nomination is a historical aberration,

he will be getting an animal
that will constantly remind us

that it has no place
in that spot on a dog court.

Gorsuch is getting a lobster.
That's right !

We're going "paws & claws"
up in this piece.

But we still need your help
to pick a lobster Gorsuch.

We are asking you to
advise and consent

on the choice between
these three glorious lobster justices,

all of whom,
like Neil Gorsuch himself,

have absolutely
no business being here !

First up, there is Cindy Clawford !
A strict constructionist

who believes life begins at
the piercing of the abdomen

with the first pair of pleopods.

Pinchers Von Shellington the third !
An opponent of judicial activism

who pairs beautifully
with a light tarragon-cream sauce !

Finally, there's Mike !
His teeth are actually a gastric mill

located in his stomach
and he's just a fucking lobster !

So, choose wisely, America,
because this is a lifetime appointment

and lobsters can apparently live
to be up to 100 years old.

Who knew !
So visit our Twitter feed

and choose Cindy Clawford,
Pinchers, or Mike,

or tweet your thoughts using
the Hashtag Claw and Order.

Thank you so much for joining us,
see you next week, good night !