John Oliver explains why the GOP health-care bill doesn't really cover pre-existing conditions

John Oliver pans the American Health Care Act
(Image credit: Last Week Tonight)

On Thursday, House Republicans passed their health-care bill by a whisker, after making last-minute changes that left several Republicans who voted for it unsure exactly what they just voted to approve. Even some of those who said they understood all the details were caught flat-footed, John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, reserving a brief, NSFW explainer for Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.). Oliver had explained why he thinks the legislation is so terrible a few weeks ago, but somehow House Republicans "took a bad thing and managed to make it even worse," he said. "It's like watching Mariah Carey's Glitter and going, 'You know what this needs? Jar Jar Binks.'"

House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans are insisting that the bill guarantees insurance access to people with pre-existing conditions, despite the last-minute change, but that's ingenuous since any small gap in insurance coverage could easily result in such a customer priced out of the insurance market altogether, Oliver explained. "It's like if your daughter asks, 'Can I have a cookie,' and you say: 'Sure, that will be $1.5 billion, Katie. You have not been denied this cookie, you still have full access to it should you choose to become successful enough to afford it.'" The bill now goes to the Senate, which will make some changes, and then maybe to President Trump, who will sign any bill that claims to repeal ObamaCare, Oliver said. "So it is dangerous to assume this bill will die on its own. Your senators are incredibly important right now." You can watch below, again warned about the NSFW language. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.