Speed Reads

Johnsplaining

John Oliver explains the pros and cons of Medicare-for-all, goes with the pros

John Oliver kicked off his new season of Last Week Tonight on Sunday by looking at "an issue that has dominated the Democratic primary — and I'm not talking about why Tom Steyer doesn't look richer" (though he did address that). Mostly, he tackled Medicare-for-all, comparing the "government-funded, single-payer program" proposed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with the current U.S. system championed by conservatives and, with various degrees of modifications, other Democratic candidates.

Conservatives are right, Oliver conceded, that "America does have one of the best health care systems in the world for rich, famous people. Unfortunately, too many people are born in this country with a terrible pre-existing condition called Not Being Beyoncé." For so many Americans, "our system is badly broken," he said, not just the 27.5 million with no insurance but also the nearly 44 million underinsured and at risk for bankruptcy from medical expenses.

The current system is a patchwork of private insurance, government programs, and crowdsourcing gambles, Oliver said. "Any solution that might put an end to that is worth at least considering, surely, and to be honest, I personally think there is a lot to be said for Medicare-for-all. So tonight, let's take a look at it: Not the politics of whether it can pass, but what it actually is." He focused on the three main objections: Cost, wait time, and choice.

"I get that big change is scary — it is human nature to prefer the devil you know over an uncertain alternative — but the devil you know is still a devil," Oliver said. And for all the U.S. fearmongering about Britain's National health System, "I will be honest with you, I've never had a bad experience and I don't know anyone who has, but since moving to America, I don't think I have met anyone who doesn't have at least one insurance industry horror story." There is a lot of NSFW language — so much so, it makes sense when Oliver calls the U.S. system "the Kama Sutra of health care." Watch below. Peter Weber