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John Oliver explains how the Republican healthcare bill is the opposite of what Trump promised

John Oliver ACHA
Screenshot from HBO
By Zheping Huang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Two weeks ago, John Oliver said the Republican plan being drafted to replace Obamacare appeared to offer such poor coverage, it was basically an ill-fitting thong. Now that the GOP has actually presented its healthcare bill, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the British comedian explained how terrible the plan will be for millions of Americans.

Both liberals and conservatives see the AHCA as “just being shitty Obamacare, the way Old Navy is a shitty version of the Gap, and the way Easter, let’s be honest, should just really be called shitty Christmas,” said Oliver in the latest episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

Oliver said that the Republican healthcare bill is particularly bad for the old, the poor and Trump supporters.

Under the GOP plan, a 60-year-old who lives in Woodward County, Okla., and earns $5,000 a year, would get less than one-third of the tax credit he would have got under Obamacare in 2020, according to Oliver’s calculation, which is based on Kaiser Family Foundation’s interactive map.

As for poor and disabled Americans, Oliver noted, the GOP plan will cut $370 billion in federal funding for Medicaid over the next decade. An estimated 6 to 15 million people will lose health coverage under the new plan.

Ironically, Trump supporters will stand to lose the most in tax credits under the GOP plan, Oliver noted, citing an analysis from the New York Times. “It’s like if the people of Pompei voted for the volcano,” he said.

So who exactly is the health coverage plan for? The Americans with top 1% of incomes will receive an average tax break of about $33,000 under the new plan, while those in the top 0.1% will get an average tax cut of about $197,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.

“This plan is literally taking money from the poor and giving it to the very rich,” said Oliver. “It’s essentially a reverse Bernie Sanders.”

Oliver said Donald Trump has been noticeably absent from the drafting of this healthcare plan. He asked rhetorically, “Is there really any way deep down that Trump has actually read this thing?,” and then pointed to a Feb. 27 press conference in which Trump said “nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.”

“Everybody knew healthcare is complicated,” Oliver exclaimed. “It’s like you say, ‘Who knew King Tut is dead?’ Everybody did!”

For procedural reasons, Oliver noted, the AHCA is presented as a budget bill, which will require only a simple Senate majority to pass, while non budget-related policy changes require 60 votes to beat a filibuster. (We explained the trick here.)

“This bill is in all likelihood all Trump can get passed to replace Obamacare,” Oliver stressed.

That means that millions of Americans could end up with the exact opposite of what Trump promised on healthcare—which was better coverage, lower costs, and no one losing their insurance—Oliver noted. He suggested Trump might not be aware of this. “Somebody needs to explain this to him,” he said.

Oliver said he is buying commercial time on Fox & Friends, one of Trump’s favorite TV shows, in the Washington DC area on Wednesday (March 15) morning to address that. The ad will feature the same catheter cowboy who explained the nuclear triad to Trump when Oliver took out ads last time.

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