- Jimmy Kimmel Live/Youtube
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel once again waded into the healthcare debate on Tuesday, blasting the newest Republican attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and saying one of its authors lied directly to his face.
Kimmel drew attention in June when he gave an emotional monologue about his newborn son’s emergency open-heart surgery and how it gave him clarity on Congress’ healthcare debate.
Following the first plea, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told Kimmel he would write a bill that would protect children with preexisting conditions, like Kimmel’s son, from lifetime limits. The limits, before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare, allowed insurance companies to cap the total dollar amount of care they covered in a person’s life.
Under such rules, being in intensive care during infancy could leave children like Kimmel’s unable to get insurance for the rest of their life. At times, the phenomenon has bankrupted families.
“These insurance companies, they want caps, to limit how much they can pay out,” Kimmel said. “So for instance, if your son has to have three open-heart surgeries, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. If he hits his lifetime cap of – let’s say, a million dollars – the rest of his life, he’s on his own.”
Cassidy pledged to make sure that this would not come back under his system and that preexisting conditions would not cause people to be charged more. The senator dubbed this qualification the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”
But Kimmel said Cassidy’s new bill, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation, failed the test.
“Not only did this bill fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, it failed the Bill Cassidy test,” the host said. “It failed its own test, which you don’t see very much. In fact, this bill is even worse than the one that thank god Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and John McCain torpedoed over the summer.”
In the new bill, most federal healthcare funding is handed to states in a large, up-front chunk called a block grant. States can then apply for what are known as 1332 waivers that allow states to relax some of Obamacare’s regulations to bring down costs.
While the new bill does not allow states to waive the requirement that keeps insurers from rejecting people with preexisting conditions altogether, the waivers could end up allowing insurers to charge sick people drastically more money for coverage, essentially pricing them out of the market.
For that reason, Kimmel said the bill not only failed Cassidy’s original Kimmel test but also created a new one.
“This new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test – but a different Jimmy Kimmel test,” the late-night host said. “With this one, your child with a preexisting condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed.”
Kimmel said Republicans were trying to slip the bill through before the September 30 deadline (after which a bill would be subject to a Democratic filibuster) to placate insurance companies they take donations from.
In addition to taking issue with the content of the new bill, Kimmel called out Cassidy specifically.
“A senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, was on my show and he wasn’t very honest,” Kimmel said, adding that he “just lied right to my face.”
Watch the video of Kimmel’s monologue: