Last Week Tonight host John Oliver spent the bulk of Sunday's show exposing the dangers of health care sharing ministries, often known as HCSMs, faith-based schemes that purport to offer health insurance to participants, but typically refuse to cover anything. Unfortunately, it's incredibly easy to create an HCSM and con people out of their money — so easy that Oliver created one himself under his "church," Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. And who better to promote JohnnyCare than his televangelist wife, Rachel Dratch's Wanda Jo Oliver?
As Oliver explained, HCSMs have a history of engaging in "immoral behavior," as one family learned when they were stuck with a $325,000 bill after their child's brain tumor was removed. Only after the family went to a news outlet with their story was the situation resolved, showing "just how little recourse you have," said Oliver. "If you don't have a child that you can get onto TV to shame the company into action, you could be shit out of luck."
While the HBO host insisted that states must "pass laws to make sure that people know what they're getting into with HCSMs," that doesn't seem to be the case, especially in states like Florida, which allows basically anyone to create an HCSM. "The reason I know that is, this anyone did," said Oliver, explaining that a few months ago, his team spun off a church they created in 2015, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, and created a HCSM called JohnnyCare under its name. "The whole thing was scarily easy to do."
Oliver proceeded to switch into "Mega Reverend" mode, and he turned to his longtime pal, Rachel Dratch, for help. As the televangelist couple explained, JohnnyCare participants will receive a "JohnnyCare First aid kit" that includes three whole Band-Aids. "It screams, 'The cheapest option that we could find.' And you know what, my Wanda? It was," said Oliver. "Now, why three Band-Aids?" added Wanda. "Because we know that in life, sometimes accidents happen. But if they happen more than three times, it just stops being our problem."
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11:00 PM ET on HBO.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.
TOPICS: John Oliver, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Rachel Dratch