It was only a matter of time before Jimmy Kimmel weighed in on the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement bill currently rushing its way through the Senate.
Kimmel became an unlikely champion for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act back in May when he delivered a tear-filled monologue about the emergency medical care his baby son Billy needed after he was born with what would have been considered a “pre-existing condition” by many health care plans pre-Obamacare.
On Tuesday, the late-night host tweeted out a photo of himself with a smiling Billy on his lap, “helping” him compose his response to the GOP’s latest effort to do away with President Obama’s landmark legislation.
Along with Lindsey Graham, the co-sponsor of the latest Obamacare repeal bill is Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, who previously said any new legislation would need to pass what he deemed the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” That declaration landed Cassidy an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! during which the host pressed him to make his “test” be that “no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.”
“He wasn’t being honest,” Kimmel said of Cassidy Tuesday night. “It seemed like he was being honest. He got a lot of credit and attention for coming off like a rare, reasonable in the Republican Party when it came to health care.”
The host stressed that Cassidy was the one who came up with the so-called “Jimmy Kimmel test,” before playing clips of the senator making promises about the type of health care plan he could support repeatedly on television over the past few months, using Kimmel’s name in each case.
As the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin explained in a column this week, Cassidy’s new bill “flunks” the Kimmel test because it says individual states can allow insurance companies to make coverage for those with pre-existing conditions prohibitively expensive. “A middle- or working-class family in Kimmel’s spot, depending on where he or she lived, could find that their policy eliminated birth defects from coverage or charged an astronomical amount to cover a baby born with a life-threatening ailment,” Rubin wrote.
Kimmel joked that the bill passes a “different Jimmy Kimmel test” in which “your child with a pre-existing condition will get the care he needs, if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel.” Otherwise, “he might be screwed.”
The host went on to lambaste Cassidy for failing to include any of his previous promises in the legislation. “Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test.” He said he “hopes” Senators Collins, Murkowski and McCain have the “courage” to vote down the bill like they did the previous Republican plan.
“They’re trying to sneak the scam of a bill they cooked up without an analysis by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office,” Kimmel said. “Look, health care is complicated. It’s boring. I don’t want to talk about it. And that’s what these guys are relying on. They’re counting on you to be so overwhelmed with information you just trust them to take care of you. But they’re not taking care of you. They’re taking care of the people who give them money, like insurance companies.”
“This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face,” the host added before playing a clip from their interview in the spring. And to those who would accuse him of “politicizing” his son’s health problems, Kimmel said, “I am politicizing my son’s health problems, because I have to.”
Finally, Kimmel called on his viewers to call Cassidy or whoever their congressperson is, putting the phone number on the screen. “You can’t just click like on this video,” he said. “Tell him this bill doesn’t pass your test.”
“Stop using my name,” he told Cassidy. “There’s a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you. It’s called a lie detector test. You’re welcome to stop by the studio and take it anytime.”