Despite the efforts of Sens. Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy to dismiss raising alarm over their new health care bill, Jimmy Kimmel isn’t backing down — and this time it’s personal.
One night after blasting Cassidy for lying “right to my face,” Kimmel doubled down with a second rage-filled monologue about health care, the Graham-Cassidy bill specifically, and anyone who’s criticized him for speaking out on the issue.
“[Cassidy] proposed a bill that would allow states to do all the things he said he would not let them do,” Kimmel said during his September 20 show. “He made a total about-face, which means he either doesn't understand his own bill or he lied to me. It's as simple as that."
He continued, blunt with obvious frustration: “[The Graham-Cassidy bill] is, by many accounts, the worst health care bill yet.”
Kimmel has, much to his own annoyance, become something of a prominent figure in the ongoing saga that is the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. After Kimmel’s newborn son required open-heart surgery in May, the host realized that if Obamacare was repealed, lifetime caps on health care spending could return, and his tiny son — and so many others like him — could get screwed by having to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket. At the time, he gave an impassioned, tearful monologue about making sure his son received the care he needed, and just how important it was that his family had reasonable health insurance.
Now, the Graham-Cassidy bill is threatening to replace Obamacare with a hodgepodge of legislative contradictions. Kimmel responded by opening his September 19 show with earnest bafflement that Cassidy — who had appeared on his show previously to assure Kimmel that he would fight to make health care affordable for anyone and everyone who needs it — is pushing a bill that expert analysis has concluded is astonishingly severe. (Vox’s Sarah Kliff unequivocally calls it “the most radical” plan she’s ever seen.)
The following day, Kimmel’s words earned plenty of blowback from both Cassidy and Graham, who essentially waved away his criticisms by scoffing that Kimmel couldn’t possibly be informed enough to understand the bill. (Analysts, for what it’s worth, disagree.)
But Kimmel was having none of it. “[Cassidy and Graham] spent the morning defending the indefensible,” Kimmel said in his follow-up, “...and pulled the ‘all comedians are dummies’ card.”
“Help me out,” Kimmel challenged, sarcastic and pissed. “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 preexisting conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal spending disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where plans are no longer required to pay for essential benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits?”
“Or,” Kimmel finally concluded, “could it be, Sen. Cassidy, that I do understand, and you got caught with your G-O-Penis out?"
Even though Kimmel has repeated throughout this whole ordeal that he’d rather be talking about something else — he says he’s been doing “more homework ... than all my college years combined” — he’s not about to let Cassidy and Graham get the last word if that word is going to be disingenuous.
You can watch the full monologue above, complete with a “Barista Theater” breakdown segment to explain what the Graham-Cassidy bill does (or doesn’t do), and a quick aside to slam Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade as “a phony little creep” who derided Kimmel on air after allegedly hounding him offscreen for attention.
But if there’s one takeaway that Kimmel hopes his viewers will heed, it’s the one he opted to end on: He’d much rather you “stop texting for five seconds” and call your senators about this bill than click “like” on his video about it and move on.