Jimmy Kimmel Criticizes New Health Care Proposal, Says Senator "Lied Right to My Face"
"With this one, your child with pre-existing conditions will get the care he needs, if and only if your father is Jimmy Kimmel, otherwise you might be screwed," he said.
Jimmy Kimmel is once again pleading with Congress not to pass the most recent last-ditch effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and said that Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the sponsors of the repeal efforts, "lied right to my face" about his intentions on health care reform.
During the opening monologue at Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night, he slammed Senator Bill Cassidy, who appeared on the show back in May and touted what he called "the Jimmy Kimmel test," which Kimmel explains is an idea — which Cassidy said he would support in any future bills — that no child should be denied health care, emergency or otherwise, because the family cannot afford it.
Kimmel's nearly 5-month-old son, William "Billy" Kimmel, was born with congenital heart disease and had to undergo open-heart surgery at just 3 days old.
Calling Cassidy "not very honest," Kimmel explained the new bill introduced last week by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham does pass the Kimmel test, but with a key difference. "With this one, your child with pre-existing conditions will get the care he needs, if and only if your father is Jimmy Kimmel, otherwise you might be screwed," he said.
He claimed that this new bill does not do any of the things Cassidy had promised — including coverage for all, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, lower premiums for middle-class families, and no lifetime caps. "Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test — he failed the Bill Cassidy test. He failed his own test."
Calling the bill worse than previous versions that Republican Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski "torpedoed over the summer," he urged politicians to shut the new bill down, too. "I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one," he said.
He also pleaded with the American people, urging people to call their representatives in Congress. "Most of the Congresspeople who vote on this won’t even read it. And they want us to do the same thing. They want us to treat it like an iTunes service agreement."
Kimmel continued, "I never imagined that I would get involved in something like this. This is not my area of expertise. My area of expertise is eating pizza. And that’s really about it. But we can’t let them do this to our children and our senior citizens and our veterans — or to any of us."
The late-night host tweeted earlier in the day, teasing that his son once again served as the inspiration for tonight's monologue:
Kimmel first opened up about his son's health complications on his show in May, and at the time referenced President Donald Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health and said he was relieved “our congressmen made a deal last night not to go along with that.” He stressed that politicians on both sides of the aisle should come together in providing everyone with access to health insurance.
And for those that think he is using his son's health problems for political reasons, he has a message for them: "And by the way, before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I’m politicizing my son’s health problems, I want you to know that I am politicizing my son’s health problems, because I have to, because other kids have health problems. My family has health insurance. We don’t have to worry about this. But other people don't, so you can shove your disgusting comments where your doctor won’t be giving you a prostate exam once they take your health care benefits away."
Watch the clip below.
Cassidy responded to Kimmel's monologue on Wednesday's edition of CNN's New Day, claiming the late-night host "does not understand" and that the bill will actually "protect those with pre-existing conditions."
"I am sorry he does not understand. Under Graham-Cassidy-Hiller-Johnson, more people will have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions," Cassidy said. "States like Maine, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, there will be billions of more -- billions more dollars to provide health insurance coverage for those in those states who have been passed by by ObamaCare and we protect those with pre-existing conditions."
Chris Cuomo said the counter-argument is that coverage for those with pre-existing conditions will be up to particular states, so the protection is not the same as now, "where you can't allow insurance companies to cherry-pick and punish people for pre-existing conditions."
But Cassidy shot that down insisting, "The protection is absolutely the same. There's a specific provision that says that if a state applies for a waiver, it must ensure that those with pre-existing conditions have affordable and adequate coverage."
Cuomo said the price that people might pay would be different, suggesting it might be more than they're paying now.
"I think the price will actually be lower," Cassidy said. "What is being circulated is by those who wish to preserve ObamaCare and they are doing everything they can to discredit the alternative. But the reality is, if you are in Maine, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, there will be money in your state to help lower your premiums and provide coverage. And, by the way, we protect those with pre-existing conditions."
Sept. 20, 7:43 a.m. This story has been updated with Sen. Cassidy's remarks on Wednesday's edition of CNN's New Day
Hilary Lewis contributed to this report.