In May, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue as he revealed that his newborn son, Billy, was born with a heart defect that required immediate surgery. The operation was successful, but Kimmel was deeply shaken by the experience, which happened amid the debate over replacing the Affordable Care Act. Kimmel delivered a passionate plea about the astronomical costs of health care: "No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child's life."
Later that week, while talking about whether insurance companies should be able to cap payouts, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., coined the phrase "the Jimmy Kimmel test," as in "Would a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything he or she would need in that first year of life?" Cassidy then appeared on Kimmel's show, and the senator reiterated the importance of making sure middle-class families could afford health care.
Fast forward to this month, and there's a new proposal as the Senate continues in its quest to repeal Obamacare: It's called the Cassidy-Graham bill, spearheaded by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. People have already pointed out it would fail the "Jimmy Kimmel test." On his show Tuesday night, the late-night host eviscerated Cassidy and the bill.
"I know you guys are going to find this hard to believe. But a few months ago, after my son had open heart surgery . . . a senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, was on my show and he wasn't very honest," Kimmel said, kicking things off. Kimmel's remarks got heated, especially toward Cassidy - and he had a few choice words for people who will criticize him for politicizing his son's health problems.
On Wednesday morning, Cassidy went on CNN to defend the bill.
"I am sorry [Kimmel] does not understand," Cassidy told Chris Cuomo, saying the bill means "more people will have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions. States like Maine, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, there will be 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 preexisting conditions."
"The counter argument will be pre-existing conditions will be up to the pricing of the particular state and market. So it's not what it is now, where you can't allow insurance companies to cherry-pick and punish people for pre-existing conditions," Cuomo responded. "So the protection is not the same, Senator, on that one point."
"The protection is absolutely the same," Cassidy said. "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 pointed out that, pending a CBO score, people will have to pay more for coverage; Cassidy countered he thinks people would pay less.