Last Week Tonight returned last night after a week off, and wasted no time in diving in to complicated political issues. After speaking of Syrian peace talks (held without any actual Syrians), Ukrainian elections (in which a person dressed as Chewbacca was arrested), and UK tax credit cuts, which would have unfairly affected low income families and (still not the most disgusting thing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has allegedly done), host John Oliver moved on to the main topic of the evening: elections. Or, as he put it, "the only excuse for a grown man to kiss a stranger's baby and not have the cops called"
While the rest of the country (and parts of the world) are focused on the 2016 presidential elections, Oliver highlighted very important legislative elections being held on Tuesday (November 3) in Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, and New Jersey, as well as other local elections. These elections will ultimately influence how many people will fall into what is known as the Medicaid Gap. The Medicaid Gap isn't a "terrible clothing chain where you can buy khaki hospital gowns sown by children in India", but something even worse.
Oliver spoke of the 2012 Supreme Court decision which upheld "nearly all" of Obamacare, which isn't exactly the most reassuring phrase when it comes to medical care. He compared health care to gym shorts, saying that "even if it covers nearly all of what it is supposed to you're still left with problematic gaps and terrible things can happen". As Oliver explained, the ruling gave individual states the power to "reject the expansion" of Medicaid, leaving millions without adequate coverage despite the fact that the cost to each state was negligible. In fact, since the 2012 decision, 20 states have declined to provide coverage to their poorest citizens, leaving 3.1 million people in the "illogical situation of not making enough money to receive government assistance".
Oliver highlighted a few stories of those who fall into the gap, including a woman without the coverage or the funds to have a potentially life saving test completed, and another woman who was forced to reuse needles to treat her diabetes. While she called her situation "disappointing", Oliver pointed out how "fucking tragic" the situation really is, which reintroduced the main topic: Tuesday's elections.
The show ended by urging Americans to care about Tuesday's elections, "because the results could affect the health of half a million people", and that is something we should all care about.
Watch the Medicaid segment below, and please encourage those who live in Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, and New Jersey to consider those without health care when casting their votes on Tuesday.