Following a series of town hall meetings across the country during which Americans held Republican officials accountable for their attempts to repeal Obamacare, John Oliver took on the issue during a detailed Last Week Tonight segment about the Affordable Care Act. He slammed the GOP for its failure to come up with a concrete replacement for the ACA, and criticized the talking points that Paul Ryan recently distributed to his colleagues. But during this segment, Oliver also subtly criticized Barack Obama.
Toward the beginning of the Obamacare segment, Oliver showed clips of initial opposition to the ACA. These 2009 clips showed opponents referring to Obama as a Marxist, comparing him to Hitler, and expressing general anguish. But one man went even further. Presumably addressing Obama as he looked at the camera, he yelled: "You want to kill my grandparents? You come through me first!"
Oliver used this as an opportunity to take a discrete jab at the former president. In a response to that particular clip, Oliver pointed out that Obama would have gone a different route if he had actually wanted to kill someone's grandparents.
Look, relax. President Obama did not want to kill that guy's grandparents. And if he did, he wouldn't have used health insurance. He would have just ordered a drone strike and then declared them enemy combatants. That was his style.
This is not the first time Oliver has criticized the Obama administration's drone strike policies. Back in 2014, Oliver remarked that drone strikes would become as much a part of Obama's legacy as Obamacare, and leveraged a poignant criticism of that fact. “When children from other countries are telling us that we’ve made them fear the sky, it might be time to ask some hard questions," Oliver pointed out at the time.
During Sunday night's Obamacare segment, Oliver also suggested that Obama should not have made promises about Americans being able to keep their doctors and their healthcare plans. "The truth is, no one can promise that," Oliver said. "Insurers drop policies and doctors change networks all the time." He proceeded to analyze other practical concerns about the ACA, such as premium increases and insurers dropping out.
However, this was more a criticism of Republicans "gutting a program in the original bill that helped protect insurers from unexpected losses" than it was of Obama, as Oliver explained. The statement about drone strikes, meanwhile, was a subtle but critical reminder that Obamacare was not the only significant program the former president left behind.