Does anyone besides Paul Ryan actually like the American Health Care Act, the Republican “repeal and replace” bill that is supposed to fix Obamacare? Democrats, naturally, strongly oppose it. The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, AARP, and many more groups have all come out against it. Heck, even plenty of conservatives hate it.
On Sunday night’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver broke down some of the major issues with AHCA—the “Ted Cruz of health care legislation.” One of the biggest is that the proposed system of flat-tax credits could really harm lower-income Americans while benefitting insurance companies and the wealthy. And while Paul Ryan may be excited about “defederalizing,” “block-granting,” and “capping,” pushing up to $370 billion worth of Medicaid costs onto the states over the next 10 years doesn’t quite get Oliver’s engines revving in quite the same way, because Ryan’s plan could mean millions of the country’s poorest citizens will lose their coverage.
In fact, many of the people who will be hurt the most by the AHCA are lower-income Americans, older Americans, and those living in rural areas, people who broadly fall into the category of Trump’s America. “Which is pretty frustrating,” noted Oliver. “It’s like if the people of Pompeii voted for the volcano.”
Trump himself has been largely absent from this narrative, and his surrogates have been trying to prevent his name from being associated with the health care bill—and this, as Oliver points out, is a man who puts his name on everything. In fact, it’s not hard to see why Trump would be reluctant to take ownership of a health care bill that’s missing a lot of what he promised during the campaign: competition across state lines, lower costs, and coverage for all. Since someone clearly needs to explain that to him, Oliver has a plan.
Trump (probably) doesn’t watch Last Week Tonight, but since he definitely watches Fox and Friends, there is at least one way to get a message to him. A few weeks ago, Oliver took out folksy cable news ads during that and other morning shows to subtly educate Trump on everything from the nuclear triad to the unemployment rate. On Wednesday, Last Week Tonight will give it another go, this time with the “catheter cowboy” explaining how the new health care bill could hurt a certain president’s popularity, right during his favorite program.
Don’t fail us this time, catheter cowboy. You may be our only hope.