Unbelievably, there's a final attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act while the Senate can still do it with 51 votes rather than the standard 60 (they have until September 30 to do so). The new bill was co-authored by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, and it's even worse than the bill you heard about over the summer. Graham-Cassidy would end the Medicaid expansion, make premiums more expensive, and allow states to charge sick people more and cut "essential" benefits, effectively bringing back annual and lifetime limits on care in states that choose to be cruel.
It's ironic, then, that Cassidy made headlines in May when he told CNN that any repeal efforts had to pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test," after apparently watching the late-night host's emotional monologue about the three open-heart surgeries his son, Billy, had shortly after being born. Kimmel said at the time, "If your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition." Cassidy claimed in multiple interviews that he would only support bills that would protect people with preexisting conditions and retain Obamacare's ban on lifetime limits. Cassidy even went on the show to talk with Kimmel about healthcare.
So last night, Kimmel devoted his monologue to destroying the new bill and calling out Cassidy for lying. It is worth every second.
"I don't know what happened to Bill Cassidy but…if the bill passes, individual states can let insurance companies charge you more if you have a pre-existing condition. You'll find that little loophole later in the document, after it says they can't. They can, and they will.
"Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test, he failed his own test," Kimmel said. "This bill he came up with is actually worse than the one that, thank god, Republicans like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowksi, and John McCain torpedoed over the summer, and I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one.
"Because these other guys who claim that they want Americans to have better healthcare, even though eight years ago they didn't want anyone to have healthcare, they're trying to sneak this scam of a bill they cooked up in without an analysis from the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office—they don't even want you to see it."
The CBO said yesterday that it is "aiming" to have a "preliminary" assessment early next week, just days before the end of the month. That is, they're not even guaranteeing a partial analysis before Republicans want to vote on this.
"Healthcare is complicated, it's boring—I don't want to talk about it—the details are confusing, and that's what these guys are relying on," Kimmel said. "They're counting on you to be so overwhelmed with all the information you just trust them to take care of you but they're not taking care of you, they're taking care of the people who give them money like insurance companies.
"We are all just looking at our Instagram accounts liking things, when they are voting on whether people can afford to keep their children alive or not," he said. "And this guy Bill Cassidy just lied right to my face.
"I never imagined I'd get involved with something this, this is not my area of expertise," he added. "But we can't let them do this to our children, our senior citizens, our veterans, or to any of us."
"And before you post a 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. My family has health insurance; we don't have to worry about this, but other people do. So you can shove your disgusting comments where your doctor won't be giving you a prostate exam once they take your healthcare benefits away."
He then outlined all of the medical organizations against the bill and urged people to call their Senators. "If this bill isn't good enough for you, call your Congressperson. That's the phone number that will go to your Congressperson wherever he or she is: 202-224-3121. You have to do this, you can't just click 'like' on this video. Tell them this bill doesn't pass your test."
Cassidy maintained this morning on CNN that the bill protects preexisting conditions and responded to Kimmel. "I'm sorry he does not understand. Under Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson, more people will have coverage, and we protect those with preexisting conditions."
A new report from the Center for American Progress estimates that there would be 32 million fewer people with health insurance in 2027. And an analysis from Alavere Health finds that Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson would reduce federal funding to the states by $215 billion from 2020 to 2026. Plus, it says right in his bill that states could charge more for pre-existing conditions, so this appears to be yet another lie.
Update 9/20/17: This post was updated with information about reports from the Center for American Progress and Alavere Health.
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