Speed Reads

Johnsplaining

John Oliver explains the GOP's ObamaCare replacement dilemma, talking points

Republicans have been railing against the Affordable Care Act since before it even passed, John Oliver noted on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. But now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, they can't just gripe about ObamaCare — and in fact, "all week long, Republicans have been dealing with an unexpected problem: constituents at town halls furious that ObamaCare might be taken away."

"So tonight, let's look at ObamaCare: what it does, what needs fixing, and how Republicans plan to replace it," Oliver said, and he started off by taking everyone back to "just how bad things were before it was passed." ObamaCare fixed some of the systemic problems — getting rid of coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. But even so, he said, "ObamaCare is not perfect. It had and has serious flaws," and Obama's "famously misleading" and structurally impossible claim about being able to keep your doctor has dogged the law.

On the other hand, in "something of a pattern," the GOP has "happily complained about the flaws in the law" while they "often undermined the whole thing," Oliver said. "That time is now over. It is their turn to present a plan, and the clock is ticking." The GOP's replacement plan is frustratingly elusive, but we have a sense of "what Republicans want to do" from previous plans put forward by HHS Secretary Tom Price and House Speaker Paul Ryan, "and from these talking points that Ryan gave out ahead of the congressional recess."

Oliver walked viewers through the pros and cons of talking points they'll be hearing a lot about from the GOP — "refundable tax credits," "health savings accounts," Medicaid "block grants," and "state high-risk pools" — and the one crucial term Republicans won't define: "continuous coverage incentive," or their mechanism to punish people who drop insurance coverage at any time. "Republicans are in a real bind here," Oliver said. "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 from the healthy to the sick, and fewer people are going to be covered." Oh, and since the GOP keeps on bringing up Obama's promise about keeping your doctor, he added, "let me remind you what Donald Trump has promised that you are going to do." Watch below — there is quite a bit of NSFW language, plus an unpalatable image of a man in a thong. Peter Weber