Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Emergency Medical Services
August 2, 2021 7:16 PM - Season 8, Episode 19 - Subscribe

This week: still in the void, for (perhaps) four more weeks. A crisis is developing over the fate of translators in Afghanistan, who are experiencing difficulties in obtaining visas to enter the US as troops withdraw, a life-or-death situation for them. And Now: Jim Cramer Loves Chipotle. Main story (22 minutes): about ambulence service in the US, often staffed by the underpaid, and yet are still frequently extremely expensive.

Guests (in one form or another): H. Jon Benjamin, George Clooney, Kermit the Frog.

F.37: "Aardvarkus Go Darkus," ARTHUR CANCELLED
posted by JHarris (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We had kind of the opposite problem with our EHS that came out over the heat dome event. It used to have its own mandate and wasn't... bad. After it got folded into the Provincial Health Service, the post turned political and ended up very badly run, run into the ground, and shamefully underfunded.

Even if EMS was administered by the Fed/ State, the Fed/ State still needs to have the political will to actually fund it.

But, yeah, fully "vulture capitalist" EMS (like the rest of the American healthcare system) is jaw droppingly vile.
posted by porpoise at 8:46 PM on August 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

I knew the US healthcare system was fractured, but I didn't realise the EMTs weren't even considered essential services.

Here in Aus they are mostly state government based, and while you do have to pay, it's not massively expensive, and free if you qualify on unemployment/welfare. In fact when my dad passed, I was a student and broke so they waived the fee after a call.

Can't imagine anyone thinking the incentives should be based on patients transported rather than calls attended.
posted by Marticus at 10:51 PM on August 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Just checked, apparently in BC it's a flat $80 when an ambulance is called. $50 if you refuse it after it's called. It's waived for certain (low) income levels. If you don't pay it, it eventually goes to CRA (Fed tax agency) for collections.

When my dad was transported to palliative care, it was considered a transfer and not an ambulance thing.

It's definitely not a self-sustaining revenue model, and it shouldn't be. Though I can't imagine there's any cost recapture at all for the hundreds of OD call outs every day. The Fire Dept. chips in a bunch of those, though.

EMT pay rates are severely fractured. Some are on (not good) salary, other are on a farcical $2/ hr (or something like that) on call "wage"; call-out hours are about double minimum wage, iirc. Deplorable.

Maybe it has changed, but back in my 20's, there was the same (!) $80 fee, but it was essentially waived if it wasn't considered a frivolous (by whom?) call out. I had drunk friends who definitely qualified for fee waiver, but still got slapped with $80 bills for being stupid (but not life threatening) drunks.

Moot point, though, if the ambulance doesn't show up/ arrived 5 hours after the call (as was a whole lot of cases last month).
posted by porpoise at 11:17 PM on August 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

We're not going to talk about the clip of Mickey Mouse? No objection from me.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:27 AM on August 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

I’m not a fan of the super transgressive shock-value jokes. In this case it wasn’t even related to the substance of the segment, and it made the clip into something a lot of people wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with family or colleagues. A bit of shock humor can keep people interested in what might otherwise be a bit dry or a downer, but in this case I think it veered too far into doing a disservice to the message.
posted by jedicus at 3:26 PM on August 3, 2021 [6 favorites]

I did get a giggle that they built up on the George Clooney gag and roped Kermit into it.
posted by porpoise at 6:23 PM on August 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

I’m not a fan of the super transgressive shock-value jokes.

Yeah, me either.

I would have been fine with no jokes at all instead of this constant stream of "sex with animals ha ha" jokes.

Seriously, I love John Oliver as much as ever but these jokes are just boring and they make it impossible to share the segments with some of my friends and family who would otherwise really appreciate them.

Transgressive jokes are a skill and John has done those successfully in the past but ever since Covid hit the quality of the jokes declined massively.

I rewatch old segments frequently and it's amazing how good the jokes used to be, and how they flowed with the message.
posted by M. at 10:54 PM on August 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

Live audience feedback is important in working bits like this. Hopefully we will have shows with an audience again by 2022.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:07 PM on August 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

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