A seemingly off-beat topic for John Oliver, dialysis treatment, is the focus of the latest Last Week Tonight segment. Oliver goes in on for-profit dialysis treatment companies Fresenius and DaVita, of which the latter’s CEO has a penchant for dressing as a musketeer, and eccentric monikers such as “village” for his company and “mayor” for himself.
In the segment, Oliver looks at the history of dialysis and kidney transplants in the United States and how the industry became overrun by for-profit companies at the risk of the rapidly growing population of dialysis patients now totaling half a million people. DaVita specifically is described by a former employee, who was let go for asking to join a workers union, as a “machine” more concerned with quickly getting patients on and off dialysis than properly cleaning the machines between each patient.
The segment also features interviews with several dialysis patients who are frustrated with ignorant comments from neighbors and mishandling by company employees. One outspoken subject tells a neighbor who assumes she is a “drunk” that “if [she] doesn’t get out of my face, [she] will need a doctor.” Oliver breaks the ignorance and silence surrounding kidney disease to expose the issues within its treatment.
The host highlights the inadequate government oversight of these for-profit companies, requiring workers to simply check a box saying whether they have talked to patients about kidney transplants, despite some DaVita facilities waiting up to five years to talk to patients about kidney transplants, which can greatly increase one’s life expectancy compared to dialysis.
Check out Oliver’s full 25-minute segment above to learn more about the lack of oversight in the dialysis industry that has cost DaVita nearly one billion dollars in lawsuits in recent years.
In a special segment, Oliver posted another update regarding the Federal Communication Commission and net neutrality, of which the host has gained much notoriety for covering. After catching viewers up on where the net neutrality regulations have been developing recently, Oliver reminds viewers of last week’s prompt to reach out to the FCC requesting the restoration of internet freedom.
Oliver responds to critiques of his call to action website, gofccyourself.com, which reroutes the visitor to the Restoring Internet Freedom page where viewers can express their feelings on net neutrality. Oliver laughs at many of the commentators, such as a Michael Jackson from 420 Butthole Avenue, and news anchors who mistake him for Stephen Colbert. While Oliver is sick of the misidentification, he happily takes the blame for Michael Jackson.
Reminding viewers the FCC is scheduled to vote on their net neutrality proposal on Thursday, May 18, Oliver warns that comments will not be taken into consideration the week leading up to the FCC discussion and those interested—looking at you, Michael—should wait until after May 18 to resume leaving comments.
Watch Oliver’s update posted below to catch up on the latest net neutrality news and watch Oliver’s previous net neutrality update here.