On Tuesday evening's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the late night host took Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of the sponsors of the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, to task for reportedly misleading him and others. Kimmel noted that the Graham-Cassidy Bill fails the "Jimmy Kimmel test" and requested that Cassidy stop using his name if he is not going to advocate for comprehensive health care for all.
The Jimmy Kimmel test is a term coined by Cassidy after Kimmel's impassioned monologue in May about his newborn son's health condition — and his plea to Congress to not pass a health care bill that would allow insurers to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, like his son, or to those who cannot afford health care.
On his show, Kimmel described the Cassidy-created Jimmy Kimmel test as follows:
In a nutshell, no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they cannot afford it ... He [Cassidy] would only support a health care bill that made sure a child like mine would get the health care coverage he needs no matter how much money his parents make. And that did not have annual or lifetime caps.
Kimmel then pointed out that Cassidy's newest health care bill, the Graham-Cassidy bill, does not, by any means, pass this test, saying the Senator was "not very honest" about his health care promises.
As Kimmel outlined, when Cassidy was speaking to the media earlier this year about what he believes health care legislation should contain, the Senator outlined four requirements: coverage for all, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, lower premiums for middle class families, and no lifetime caps.
Kimmel then pointed out that the Graham-Cassidy bill achieves none of these outcomes and, in fact, often does quite the opposite. Kimmel described that, if the bill passes, states can opt to allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more money for health coverage. They can also opt to allow insurers to impose lifetime caps on insurance coverage. Moreover, Kimmel noted that the bill will result in higher premiums for many and cause a substantial number of people — around 30 million — to lose coverage.
As Kimmel described, Cassidy's failure to meet these objectives in the health care bill he is sponsoring means he not only failed the Jimmy Kimmel test, but also the "Bill Cassidy test," by proposing legislation that seemingly goes against everything he reportedly desired in a health care bill.
As his monologue progressed, Kimmel also expressed outrage that Cassidy had seemingly "lied right to his face" about his health care promises. The television host then played a clip of himself interviewing Cassidy on his show earlier this year and asking Cassidy if he believed that every American, regardless of income, should be able to receive health care. Cassidy responded "yep" to the late night host. In looking back on the clip, Kimmel pointed out Cassidy's inconsistencies, suggesting that "yep is Washington for no, I guess."
Kimmel then wrapped up his monologue with an impassioned plea for Americans to take action to stop the Graham-Cassidy bill from passing. He noted that, if they do not support the bill, Americans "have to do this [call their representatives]" and not just click "like" on his video. He also shared a telephone number which the public can use to call their own member of Congress.
Overall, it is very clear that ensuring that all Americans have quality, affordable health care means a great deal to Kimmel — and that he, presumably like many others, feels betrayed by Cassidy's promises about what protections new health care legislation would contain. If you feel similarly and want to follow Kimmel's lead and contact your representative, you can use this website to find their contact information.