‘Last Week Tonight’ — John Oliver Exposes the Worst of Medicaid


If only this was a quiet show hosted by Stanley Tucci.

The big picture

  • The program reveals that Medicaid is exploiting loopholes to deny urgent care, hurting low-income patients.
  • John Oliver also talks about Medicaid focusing on detecting fraud to provide care, neglecting its own patients.
  • Last week tonight
    suggests that Medicaid prioritize patient care over fraud prevention.

Wouldn't it be great if the world was a place where there was so little to worry about that we had weekly episodes of a show with Stanley Tucci (The devil wears Prada) talking about Negronis? We all know how good that would be, included Last week tonight host John Oliver. Unfortunately, we got the satire news show, and this week the focus was on the kind of practices Medicaid does to sabotage its own patients.

The lengthy main segment publicized several cases in which Medicaid used loopholes to deny treatment or help to low-income patients. This includes some strange cases: a child with leukemia who clearly needs urgent care, a child with cerebral palsy who Medicaid deemed unworthy of basic hygiene, and a baby who was declared unborn even though he was live well

These dire scenarios are basic indicators that Medicaid is constantly looking for loopholes to use as skeptical an approach as possible with its patients. The logic behind this is that the system has to work this way to detect fraud, which certainly happens, but the problem is that it affects the lives of people who need urgent care and have no way to pay thousands of dollars for it. .

'Last Week Tonight' reshapes Medicaid PSAs

One thing that can't be denied is that some Medicaid PSAs are pretty creative (and a little creepy), though Last week tonight noticed that the amount of information delivered in these PSAs is not enough for their patients to pay attention. For starters, Medicaid terms change from state to state, and a talking peach distracts from those kinds of details. You will understand when you watch the main segment below.

While one solution that would completely overhaul the problems with Medicaid is universal health care, we can't pretend America is anywhere near that. One solution proposed by John Oliver is that Medicaid stopped trying so hard to detect fraud. Although it seems ridiculous, Last week tonight suggests the numbers back it up: while fraud adds up to a loss of $900,000, funding a team that does the work to find these frauds sometimes costs more than $6 million. While Medicaid certainly thinks it's worth paying for, we can't forget that this is at the expense of people who are just trying to survive.

You can watch the main segment above.

last week tonight

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Former Daily Show anchor and correspondent John Oliver brings his personality to this weekly news satire program.

Publication date
April 27, 2014

John Oliver, David Kaye

Main genre
Talk show



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