On Sunday night, John Oliver
dove deep into the world of health care
sharing ministries (HCSM), faith-based schemes that look like health insurance
but aren't, and many participants find out too late.
The host of “Last Week Tonight
” told the story of a family
had a brain
tumor removed and was left with a $325,000 bill that was not covered by their HCSM.
“Holy shit,” Oliver exclaimed, “exactly the kind of immoral behavior I'd expect sharing ministries to classify as ‘fucking disqualifying.”
After the story was covered in the media, the company finally paid.
“It just goes to show how little recourse you have,” Oliver said, adding, “If you don’t have a child you can shame the company into action with, you might be out of luck.”
Oliver explained why people
enroll in HCSMs.
“I understand the appeal of lower-cost health insurance,” Oliver said, “but this isn’t that; it’s not insurance at all, and states
need to pass laws to ensure that people understand what they’re getting into with HCSMs and to force them to allocate funds properly.”
But, he claimed, some states were doing the exact opposite. For example, Florida
has lowered the bar so low that anyone, including Oliver himself, can create an HCSM. So, he resurrected his "church," Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, which he founded in 2015 to demonstrate how simple it was to use religion
to exploit tax loopholes.
That church now has a subsidiary called Our Lady of Perpetual Health, which offers an HCSM called JohnnyCare, complete with its own website.
“It was frighteningly simple,” Oliver said.
Then he resurrected comedian
Rachel Dratch as his spoof televangelist wife to explain this completely insane but entirely legal scheme, which is now available to Florida residents with $1.99 to spare and a desire for three Band-Aids: