Kimmel has become the unlikely face of the fight for affordable health care, and his nightly monologues have moved from emotional to fiery as he takes on his critics while urging Americans to stay informed and take action.
On this night, Kimmel took aim at the critics who think that he should be excluded from the debate because he’s a celebrity and the furthest thing from an expert on healthcare.
“A lot of people have been saying I’m not qualified to talk about this,” Kimmel said. “And that is true, I’m not qualified to talk about this. I think those people forget that Bill Cassidy named this test after me. Am I supposed to just be quiet about that?”
Kimmel is of course referring to the now infamous “Jimmy Kimmel test,” which guarantees that sick infants have access to health care and which Cassidy pledged would be the measuring stick for any reform proposals moving forward. But most experts have pointed out that the Graham-Cassidy bill does not adhere to the test. That fallacy has been the source of Kimmel’s ongoing crusade.
On Thursday, Kimmel listed off those experts and displayed a breathtaking graphic with their logos. That’s a lot of experts. “We haven’t seen this many groups come forward to come out against a bill since Cosby,” Kimmel joked.
It was yet another glaring example of Kimmel’s ability to communicate why this bill sucks in a language people can actually understand. His critics don’t comprehend that by positioning Kimmel as someone who doesn’t speak the language of government, they’re only emboldening him in the eyes of Americans who are sick of being hoodwinked by political doublespeak.
They also seem to be ignoring the fact that by dismissing Kimmel as a mere entertainer who should know his role, they’re simultaneously discrediting the reality star they helped put in office, a hypocrisy that Kimmel slyly pointed on Thursday when he showed a clip of Trump firing Meatloaf on The Apprentice.
And once Kimmel’s crosshairs were finally trained on the president, the late night host made sure not to miss. “For Donald Trump, this isn’t about the Graham-Cassidy bill, it’s about getting rid of Obamacare, which he hates — primarily because Obama’s name is on it,“ he said. "He likes to have his name on things, buildings, boxes. And, at this point, he’d sign anything if it meant getting rid of Obamacare. He’d sign copies of the Qur’an at the Barnes & Nobel in Fallujah if it meant he could get rid of Obamacare.”
Once again, Kimmel showed himself to be the most clear-eyed player in this fight. His opponents will continue to dismiss and reduce him by using terms like “Hollywood elite” and “entertainer,” as we inch closer to September 30, when the bill is expected to hit the senate floor. But remember, if Kimmel isn’t qualified to talk about health care, then why did Cassidy go on his show in the first place? And why does Fox News—which has been one of Kimmel’s harshest critics this past week—have a history of putting D-listers like Stephen Baldwin and Scott Baio on the air to talk about politics?
What makes Kimmel so effective—and what his critics don’t seem to understand—is that he’s not and expert and he knows it. He speaks to us like a father whose son almost died, and would have died if he weren’t wealthy. It’s a language any parent or decent person understands. Couple that with his prodigious ability to unleash barbed one-liners, and this is starting to feel more and like a battle the GOP can’t win.