“I mean, good thing California has medical marijuana, because when the Republicans get done with health care that’s the only treatment you’re gonna have.”
That’s how Bill Maher opened the latest edition of his Real Time program Friday night. Before wading into dicey waters with a controversial Ivanka Trump joke, the HBO host’s monologue tackled the biggest news in America this week: that the Republicans had finally passed their problematic American Health Care Act through the House.
The bill, nicknamed Trumpcare, is controversial because it will not only lead to 24 million more uninsured people by 2026 according to the Congressional Budget Office, but also eliminates an Obamacare provision protecting those with pre-existing conditions. Under the AHCA, states will now possess the ability to allow health insurers to hike premiums on those with pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy, asthma, diabetes, anxiety, cancer, AIDS, obesity, or sex reassignment surgery, to name a few. It could also allow for domestic violence and the aftermath of sexual assault to be considered pre-existing conditions by some insurance companies.
Earlier this week, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel made a tear-filled plea on his program Jimmy Kimmel Live! against Trumpcare after his infant son, born with a heart condition, narrowly avoided death. “You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there’s a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance, because you had a pre-existing condition,” said Kimmel. “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?”
Maher continued his monologue by scolding House Republicans for pushing through their heartless bill, apparently eager for a Trump administration win by any means necessary. “Never underestimate these bastards. We thought we had them a couple of months ago—health care came up in the House, didn’t pass. They did it. They did it the other day. They told Jimmy Kimmel’s baby, go screw yourself,” offered Maher. “And then, the nerve of them! After they did it, after they kicked 24 million people off health care, they threw a party in the Rose Garden to celebrate it,” he continued. “There they are. Look at them high-fiving each other, congratulating. Look at these white assholes. Somewhere there’s an Elks Lodge going: where’s everybody?” Then, the kicker: “Trump got carried away and grabbed a pussy: Paul Ryan.”
Later on, during the panel portion of the program, the comedian praised Kimmel for his courage while pointing out a specific problem he had with the end of his speech.
“I want to say something about my friend Jimmy Kimmel, who I am very proud of because he brought this issue into American living rooms in a way that it wouldn’t have done before,” said Maher. “Here’s the thing: Jimmy said, ‘If your baby’s going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, we can all agree on.’ And unfortunately that’s not true. And that needs to be said. One side wants to tax rich people so babies don’t have to die, and one side is against that. And this lets Republicans off the hook. Let’s not fuck around with this. We are not on the same page with this.”
Indeed, the AHCA would lead to 24 million more uninsured people by 2026 while cutting $1 trillion in taxes—the same amount that the top 2 percent would save in taxes under the plan. In the simplest of terms, it’s taking from the poor to give to the rich.
“The problem with saying that, and I know he’s not a political guy especially, is that that’s what makes people not vote,” Maher added of Kimmel’s “we can all agree on” bit. “They think, well, they’re all the same. It’s just a petty squabble. You know what we need? We need some kind of outside dealmaker who can come in and shake things up.” “Let me give you Joe Walsh. He’s an ex-congressman and a Republican who answered Jimmy. He said, ‘Sorry Jimmy, your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.’ And that is their view.”
Also, in a fantastic bit of irony, Walsh was once sued by his ex-wife for owing $117,437 in past due child support to care for their three children. He claimed he was broke—a lie—and the two eventually reached a settlement.