John Oliver is a proud ruiner. Showing first a commercial where people speak glowingly of a workaround to America’s undeniably broken and venal healthcare system made up of good-hearted folk chipping in to pay each others’ medical bills out of a spirit of fellowship and the common good, Oliver pulled off the bandage right away in exposing how the advertised health care sharing ministry industry is even more of a racket than our current, universally loathed health insurance system. “As you guessed because you’re learning about it from this show,” Oliver warned those beleaguered viewers Googling the local health care sharing ministry (HCSM), these rapidly multiplying religious boondoggles are significantly less useful than praying to your favorite celebrity for a retweet of your emergency medical debt GoFundMe.
How much less useful are we talking here? Well, as Oliver lays out in another of his weekly stories designed to spawn a sweaty barrage of damage-control corporate PR statements from these over-promising, under-delivering, essentially unregulated
scams faith-based capitalist entities, about as useful as racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and then getting on your knees to pray that a sketchy scheme with a sanctifying veneer of holiness doesn’t disqualify every penny because you smoked a cigarette that one time. Is that just another liberal heathen picking on the faithful? Well, yeah, probably. But it’s also 100 percent true when it comes to how HCSMs can legally discriminate against needy paying customers because of factors ranging from tobacco use, to alcohol or drug use, to being gay, to having sex outside of marriage, to literally anything they (and they alone) determine is outside the bounds of their particular, judgmentally lawsuit-proof brand of corporate Christianity.
Oh, and speaking of percentages, Oliver shined the representative villainy spotlight on the head of Aliera, a company intimately involved in administering numerous HCSMs, which takes some 84 percent of all monies raised from members for administrative costs/whatever it wants. (As lousy as real healthcare comanies arfe the ACA mandates that only 20 percent can go to overhead.) As Oliver noted upon showing a reporter questioning Aliera’s head about this monumental fleecing of Aliera’s ailing flock and receiving the hasty response, “I cant help you any further, I need to get out of town,” that’s pretty much 100 percent the opposite of what any respectable Jesus would do. Same goes for the CPAC speaker who chucklingly promised that the “freedom from insurance” promised by HCSMs like Liberty Healthshare (which sponsored the infamous conservative hate-festival) would “stick it to” those godless insurance companies. As Oliver cited, “self-satisfied CPAC laughter” is both chilling and a great indicator that someone is proposing something scammy and stupid.
But John Oliver is nothing if not a helper. A helper and a ruiner. That’s why he brought back his 100 percent actual wife Wanda Jo (who, admittedly does look like Rachel Dratch in a sculptural Tammy Fay wig) to announce the arrival of his own, Florida- and faith-based health care sharing ministry, JohnnyCare. By logging onto the website of the recently founded church of Our Lady Of Perpetual Health (sister scam of his and Dratch’s late Our Lady Of Perpetual Exemption), holier-than-thou members can gain access to the feel-good, cost-sharing beneficence of the church, in the form of the cheapest, three-Band Aid first aid kit their money can purchase in bulk. As he and Wanda Jo glowingly touted their holy alternative to evil, godless (yet actual) healthcare companies, they assured JohnnyCare subscribers that their $1.99 contribution will cover absolutely every medical misfortune imaginable—provided, of course, that members’ ailments are not caused by something outside the church’s arbitrary and blanket-disqualifying morality clauses.
As Oliver notes throughout his piece, American healthcare is, indeed, completely broken, and there is a pressing, literally life-or-death need to reform it or replace it with something better. (A single payer system, for example, which Oliver notes would solve a lot of the problems instantly but which is facing intractable resistance from suspiciously healthcare company-funded politicians and ignorant dipshits screeching the word “socialism” as loud as they can.) And yet, as Oliver showed with his own shockingly easy entry into the shady world of God-plated, predatorily greedy and lucratively judgmental HCSMs, simply tossing some religious language over your healthcare scam doesn’t make it any less evil.