As expected, Jimmy Kimmel faced a wave of criticism from members of the GOP, after he took Republican Senator Bill Cassidy and his bogus Graham-Cassidy health care plan to task on Tuesday. But as Kimmel has shown since delivering his emotional on-air plea in May, this is one fight he won’t back down from.
On Wednesday’s show, Kimmel wasted little time firing back at Cassidy, who earlier in the day accused Kimmel of not understanding the bill.
“Oh, I get it,” Kimmel offered. “I don’t understand because I’m a talk-show host, right? Then help me out. Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health-care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having pre-existing conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026, or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits.”
Despite the best efforts of his detractors to discredit Kimmel based on his vocation as a comedian, the late night host has clearly done his homework. Kimmel knows—and more importantly, he wants Americans to know—that the Graham-Cassidy bill doesn’t pass the so-called “Jimmy Kimmel test,” by guaranteeing coverage for children born with preexisting conditions. If the bill passes, individual states could allow carriers to raise rates due to preexisting conditions at their own discretion.
For the second consecutive night, Kimmel refused to let Cassidy off the hook for coming on his show in May and promising to fight for bills that passed the host’s namesake test. “He said anything he supported would have to pass what he named ‘The Jimmy Kimmel Test,’ which was fine, it was good, but unfortunately—and puzzlingly—he proposed a bill that would allow states to do all the things he said he would not let them do,” Kimmel said. “He made a total about-face, which means that he either doesn’t understand his own bill, or he lied to me. It’s as simple as that.”
Cassidy wasn’t the only one to get a healthy dose of Kimmel’s vitriol on Wednesday. Kimmel also took shots at Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie and Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, who went after Kimmel by playing the hackneyed “Hollywood elite” card. Kimmel wasn’t having it.
“The reason I found this comment to be particularly annoying,” Kimmel said, “is because this is a guy, Brian Kilmeade, who whenever I see him kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman. ‘Oh, he’s such a fan of the show!’ He follows me on Twitter. He asked me to write a blurb for his book, which I did. He calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the Hollywood elite.”
Kimmel continued: “The only reason he’s not a member of the Hollywood elite is because nobody will hire him to be one. And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more, and because of that I learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation. I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you. That would be my blurb for your next book: Brian Kilmeade is a phony little creep.”
Kimmel’s anger is understandable if not justified. While his late night counterparts have entrenched themselves as mouthpieces for the anti-Trump brigade, Kimmel has mostly stayed out of the political fray. The fact that he’s been gone so full throttle when it comes to health care proves that this isn’t meant as some headline-grabbing publicity stunt. Kimmel wants to inspire action, and once again posted the numbers for all the conservatives who are still undecided on the bill, after he pointed out that the office of Susan Collins had no increase in call volume over the past few days.
“If that is true, this is why things like this keep happening—because we don’t do anything about them,” Kimmel said. “So please stop texting for five seconds and make a phone call.”
Find out where to call, below.
Susan Collins: (207) 622-8414
Dean Heller: (202)-224-6244
Lisa Murkowski: (202)-224-6665
Shelley Moore Capito: (202)-224-6472
John McCain: (202)-224-2235