Several months ago, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel took on an unexpected role in the national health care debate, talking to his audience about his young son's heart surgery, and his belief that all Americans should have access to affordable, potentially life-saving, care.
Soon after, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) began referencing the "Jimmy Kimmel Test": for a health care proposal to have merit, the Louisiana Republican said, it should ensure families are covered regardless of income. Cassidy even appeared on Kimmel's show, vowing to protect Americans who need protecting.
That was then; this is now. Cassidy is currently pushing his own right-wing Graham-Cassidy legislation, which does largely the opposite of what he publicly vowed to do, and which clearly fails the "Jimmy Kimmel Test." Last night, the ABC host let the country know just how outrageous this is.
[I]n his monologue on Tuesday, Kimmel said that Cassidy "wasn't very honest," pointing to the legislation that Cassidy co-authored with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
"I don't know what happened to Bill Cassidy," Kimmel said. "But when he was on this publicity tour, he listed his demands for a health-care bill very clearly. These were his words. He said he wants coverage for all, no discrimination based on preexisting conditions, lower premiums for middle-class families and no lifetime caps. Guess what? The new bill does none of those things."
The host added that "this new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test. 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."
Before pleading with his audience to call Capitol Hill and urge lawmakers to defeat the bill, Kimmel went on to note that Cassidy "just lied right to my face."
It was a powerful monologue that's well worth your time, and if the public responds to it, the host may even help shape the direction of the debate. But stepping back, there was a line Kimmel used that got me thinking: "I don't know what happened to Bill Cassidy."