Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., says he is “sorry” that Jimmy Kimmel “does not understand” the new health care legislation he and Sen. Lindsey Graham are co-sponsoring after the late night host blasted their proposal and accused Cassidy of lying to him during an appearance on his show earlier this year.
“More people will have coverage,” Cassidy insisted on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday. “And we’ll protect those with preexisting conditions.”
Cassidy said there will be “billions of more dollars to provide health coverage” in states including Maine, Virginia, Florida and Missouri than exist currently under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Earlier this year, Cassidy appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after Kimmel made an emotional plea to ensure all Americans have access to health care after revealing his newborn son needed life-saving heart surgery three days after his birth.
The Louisiana senator assured Kimmel that he would only support a health care bill that guaranteed children like Kimmel’s would receive the coverage they need no matter how much money their parents make, with Cassidy even calling it the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”
“He said he wants coverage for all, no discrimination based on preexisting conditions, lower premiums for middle class families and no lifetime caps,” Kimmel told viewers on his show Tuesday night. “And guess what? The new bill does none of those things.”
“This guy, Bill Cassidy, lied right to my face,” Kimmel continued. “Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test.”
The host then addressed Cassidy directly: “Stop using my name, all right, ’cause I don’t want my name on it. There’s a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you; it’s called a lie detector test — you’re welcome to come by the studio and take it any time.”
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Cassidy was asked whether “any child born with a congenital heart disease would get anything he or she needs” under the so-called Cassidy-Graham bill.
“Absolutely,” Cassidy replied.
So who’s right? According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the Cassidy-Graham bill “would cause many millions of people to lose coverage, radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, eliminate or weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and increase out-of-pocket costs for individual market consumers.”
And while the Cassidy-Graham bill would give states universal power to decide how to govern their health-insurance markets, the Washington Post notes that some may decide not to expand health insurance coverage for lower-income people.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) September 20, 2017
On Twitter, Kimmel urged his 9.8 million followers to call the senator’s Washington, D.C., office to express their disappointment.
Back in May, Kimmel was criticized for using his talk show to lobby for health care following his son’s heart scare. On Tuesday night, he had a message for those critics.
“Before you post the nasty Facebook message saying I’m politicizing my son’s health problems, I want you to know, I am politicizing my son’s health problems because I have to,” Kimmel said.
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