In 2017, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel has become an unexpected litmus test for health care coverage in America.
And when it comes to the latest proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, Kimmel is not having it.
During Tuesday night’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the talk show host lambasted the proposed Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, which would repeal and replace Obamacare.
Kimmel accused one of the bill’s Republican co-sponsors, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), of “[lying] right to my face” after he appeared on Kimmel’s show earlier this year and promised to protect healthcare for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions.
“Last week, Bill Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham proposed a new bill, the Graham-Cassidy bill. And this new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test,” Kimmel 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.”
The comedian went on to address several promises Cassidy made when he appeared on Kimmel’s show in May, including ensuring “healthcare for all,” protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions from being charged higher premiums, and eliminating lifetime caps on health insurance coverage.
The nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that more than 32 million Americans would lose health insurance under the Graham-Cassidy proposal, and additional Americans would lose insurance because of cuts to Medicaid.
If the Graham-Cassidy bill were to pass, approximately one in six individuals who suffer from pre-existing conditions could see health care premiums rise or lose coverage completely, according to the Washington Post.
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Known primarily for gags in which parents withhold Halloween candy from their children and puppies predict Super Bowl winners, Kimmel inserted himself into the healthcare debate in May of this year after his son was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia, a form of heart disease, just weeks before Congress voted on a replacement to Obamacare.
“If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” Kimmel said at the time. “I think that’s something that whether you’re a Democratic or a Republican or something else, we all agree on that right?”
That bill was shot down in stunning fashion, after three Republican Senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Susan Collins, and Sen. John McCain — voted against the proposal.
The Graham-Cassidy bill is currently making its way through the Senate, according to the Huffington Post. At least five Republican governors have expressed concern over the bill, which would put much of the onus on individual states to determine health care availability.
“The Graham-Cassidy bill is not a solution that works for Maryland,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said. “It will cost our state over $2 billion annually while directly jeopardizing the health care of our citizens.”
For his part, Kimmel urged viewers to take action to prevent the bill from passing with a simple majority in Congress.
“If this bill isn’t good enough for you, call your congressperson,” Kimmel said, directing viewers to a phone number that connects callers to their congressional representative. “You have to do this. You can’t just click ‘like’ on this video.”
“We want quality, affordable health care,” he added. “Dozens of other countries figured it out.”
He then ended the monologue by extending Sen. Cassidy a new invitation to stop by his show.
“There’s a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you, it’s called the lie detector test,” Kimmel said. “You’re welcome to stop by the studio and take it anytime.”