Jimmy Kimmel's Latest Stand: Trump Just Doesn't Understand Health Care
The late-night host has spent the last three nights slamming the GOP's latest attempt to repeal Obamacare.
Jimmy Kimmel continued his tirade against the Graham-Cassidy health care bill on Thursday, the third straight night the comedian has excoriated the GOP and Donald Trump's attempts to repeal Obamacare.
After two nights skewering Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy for misleading him on his intentions on health care reform and then accusing Kimmel of "not understanding" policy, the late-night host went easy on the pol, directing most of his derision for Donald Trump who had inserted himself into the growing row.
"For Donald Trump, this isn’t about the Graham-Cassidy bill, it’s about getting rid of Obamacare, which he hates — primarily because Obama’s name is on it," Kimmel said. "He likes to have his name on things, buildings, boxes. And, at this point, he’d sign anything if it meant getting rid of Obamacare. He’d sign copies of the Qur’an at the Barnes & Nobel in Fallujah if it meant he could get rid of Obamacare."
Kimmel added that Trump couldn't care less or know less about health care. "I guarantee [Trump] doesn’t know anything about this Graham-Cassidy bill. He doesn’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. He barely knows the difference between Melania and Ivanka!"
Kimmel, in particular, had sharp words for critics who claimed he wasn't qualified to talk about health care policy. "You know, a lot of people have been saying I’m not qualified to talk about this. And that is true — I’m not qualified to talk about this. But I think those people forget Bill Cassidy named his test after me!"
The host made the ironic observation that people telling him he was unqualified to talk about policy due to his celebrity status by comparing himself with the man in the White House. "I see these comments from these angry people, that say 'what qualifies you to talk about this stuff, you’re a comedian — go back to being not funny.'"
He added: "And I feel like it’s my duty to remind these people who are so concerned about my qualifications — the guy you voted for president — his job qualification was this. He fired Meatloaf. And you put him in the White House."
As he did the previous two nights, Kimmel ended the segment by imploring people to call senators who were wavering in their support for the Cassidy-Graham bill.
Kimmel's crusade began on Tuesday, when he used his opening monologue to slam 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.
On Tuesday, Kimmel said Cassidy was "not very honest," as he 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."
The situation escalated on Wednesday, when Kimmel began his monologue by restating his feelings on the new bill, before taking on his critics who felt he should stay in his lane. "Oh I get it, I don’t understand because I’m a talk show host right? Which part am I not understanding? Or could it be that I do understand and that you got caught with your GOPenis out?" Saying he "doesn't want to turn this into a Kanye and Taylor Swift-type situation," he said the situation can be equated to a bad pitch at a Yankees game where "[Cassidy] made a pitch that looked pretty good at first … but then it took a dangerous turn — and hit us right in the nuts."
Memorably, a clearly angry Kimmel added: "He made a total about face. Which means he either doesn’t understand his own bill — or he lied to me."
On Friday, Sen. John McCain said he wouldn't vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill, likely ending the latest GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare as Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Susan Collins earlier indicated they wouldn't support the bill. Kimmel took to Twitter to thank McCain for opposing the legislation after McCain's vote proved to be crucial in an earlier proposal.
Thank you @SenJohnMcCain for being a hero again and again and now AGAIN— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) September 22, 2017
Sept. 22, 11:34 a.m. This story has been updated with Kimmel's tweet thanking John McCain.