Tuesday night, late night host Jimmy Kimmel once again waded into the healthcare debate, blasting the newest Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare and saying one of its authors lied to him.
Kimmel drew attention in June when he gave a heart-wrenching 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 that he would write a bill which would protect children with pre-existing conditions, like his son, from lifetime limits — which before Obamacare allowed insurance companies to cap the total dollar amount of care they covered in a person’s life.
For children like Kimmel’s, being in intensive care during infancy could leave them unable to get insurance for the rest of their lives and at times 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 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.”
Cassidy pledged to make sure this would not come back under his system and that pre-existing conditions would not lead to people being charged more. The senator dubbed this qualification the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”
Cassidy’s new bill, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill, fails the test according to Kimmel.
“Not only did this bill fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, it failed the Bill Cassidy test,” the host said. “It failed it’s 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 funding is handed to states in a large, upfront chunk called a block grant. The states can then apply for what are known as 1332 waivers that allow states to relax some of Obamacare’s regulations in order to bring down costs.
While the GCHJ bill does not allow states to waive the requirement that insurers have to provide people with pre-existing conditions coverage, 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 that Republicans are trying to slip the bill through before the September 30 deadline in order to placate insurance companies that they take donations from.
In addition to taking issue with the content of the GCHJ bill, Kimmel called out Cassidy for what the host considered lying to him.
“A senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, was on my show and he wasn’t very honest,” Kimmel said. He “just lied right to my face.”
Watch the video of Kimmel’s monologue:
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