On Tuesday night, Jimmy Kimmel took to his late night show once more to talk healthcare — a subject near and dear to him personally, after his infant son dealt with heart surgery in the days after his birth last May. He delivered a heartfelt monologue then about the importance of adequate health coverage for all Americans, and in the wake of new healthcare legislation from Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsay Graham, he returned to the subject with an emotional plea.
I know you guys are going to find this hard to believe, but a few months ago, after my son had open heart surgery, which was something I spoke about on the air, a politician, a Senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana was on my show and he wasn't very honest. It seemed like he was being honest he got a lot of credit and attention for coming off like a rare, reasonable voice in the Republican party when it came to healthcare for coming up with something he called — and I didn't name it this, he named it this — the Jimmy Kimmel test, which was, in a nutshell, no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can't afford it. He agreed to that. He said he would only support a healthcare bill that made sure a child like mine would get the health coverage he needs, no matter how much money his parents make. And that did not have annual or lifetime caps. These insurance companies, they want caps, to limit how much they can pay out. So for instance if your son has to have three open heart surgeries, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a piece. If he hits his lifetime cap of let's say a million dollars, the rest of his life he's on his own. Our current plan protects Americans from these caps and prevents insurance providers from jacking up the rates for people who have preexisting conditions of all types and Senator Cassidy said his plan would do that too. He said all of this on television, many times.
Kimmel then played a CNN clip proving that Cassidy had, indeed, created this test. (Medical experts who have assessed the Graham-Cassidy bill do not believe it would sufficiently cover people with pre-existing conditions like Billy.)
OK, last week Bill Cassidy and Senator Lindsay 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. 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. I don't know what happened to Bill Cassidy, but when he was on this publicity tour he listed his demands for a healthcare bill very clearly. These were his words. He said he wants coverage for all, no discrimination based on preexisting conditions, lower premiums for middle-class families, and no lifetime caps. And guess what? The new bill does none of those things. Coverage for all? No. In fact it will take about 30 million Americans off insurance. Preexisting conditions? No. If the bill passes, individually states can let insurance companies charge you more if you have a preexisting condition. You'll find that little loophole later in the document after he says they can't. They can and they will. But will it lower premiums? Well, in fact, for lots of people, the bill will result in higher premiums. And as far as lifetime caps go, the states can decide on that too, which means there will be lifetime caps in many states.
So not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test. He failed his own test. And you don't see that happen very much. This bill he came up with is actually worse than the one that, thank God, Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and John McCain torpedoed over the summer. And I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one. Because these other guys who claim they want Americans to have better healthcare — even thought eight years ago they didn't want anyone to have healthcare at all — they're trying to sneak this scam of a bill they cooked up in without an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. They don't even want you to see it. They're having one hearing. I read the hearing's being held in the Homeland Security Committee, which has nothing to do with healthcare, and the chairman agree to allow two witnesses, Bill Cassidy and Lindsay Graham, to speak.
So listen. Healthcare is complicated. It's boring. I don't want to talk about it. The details are confusing. And that's what these guys are relying on. They're counting on you to be so overwhelmed with information you just trust them to take care of you. But they're not taking care of you. They're taking care of the people who give them money like insurance companies, and we're all just looking at our Instagram accounts and liking things while they're voting on whether people can afford to keep their children alive or not. Most of the congresspeople who vote on this bill probably 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. And this guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face.
They played another clip of Cassidy, this time appearing alongside Kimmel on his show. In the video, Cassidy says "Yep" to Kimmel's question about Americans receiving healthcare, regardless of income.
So 'yep' is Washington for 'nope,' I guess. And I never imagined 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 him do this to our children and our senior citizens and our veterans or to any of us. And by the way, before you post the nasty Facebook message about how I'm politicizing my son's healthcare problems, I want you to know, I am politicizing my son's healthcare problems, because I have to. My family has health insurance. We don't have to worry about this. But other people do. So you can shove your disgusting comments where your doctor won't be giving you a prostate exam once they take your healthcare benefits away. It's truly — it's unbelievable. Somehow Japan, England, Canada, Germany, France: they all figured healthcare out. And don't say they have terrible healthcare, because it's just not true. This is a bad bill.
But don't take my word for it. Here are just some of the organizations that oppose this Graham Cassidy Bill: the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, the ALS Association, the March of Dimes, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Children's Hospital of LA. Basically, any group you've ever given money to thinks this is a bad idea. Do you trust them, or do you trust him? OK?
So if this bill isn't good enough for you, call your congressperson. That's the number, go to your congressperson — whoever he or she is — (202) 224-3121. You have to do this; you can't just click like on this video. Tell him this bill doesn't pass your test.
And Senator Cassidy, you were on my show, you seemed like you were a decent guy. But here's the thing. Nobody outside of your buddies in Congress wants this bill. Only 12% of Americans supported the last one, and this one is worse. Right now there's a bipartisan group of senators working to approve the healthcare system we have. We want quality, affordable healthcare. Dozens of other countries figured it out. So instead of jamming this horrible bill down our throats, go pitch in and be a part of that. I'm sure they could use a guy with your medical background. And if not, stop using my name. Because I don't want my name on it. There's a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you. It's called the lie detector test. You're welcome to stop by the studio and take it any time.