Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is pleading with a Republican senator to put the latest version of Trumpcare to the “Kimmel test” before voting for it.
Kimmel, whose baby son Billy required surgery shortly after birth to repair a congenital heart problem, tweeted to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) Sunday: “No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.”
Cassidy himself first coined what he called the “Jimmy Kimmel test” in early May during a CNN interview when asked about caps on insurance coverage in Trumpcare.
“I ask, ’Does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test?’” said the senator, who is also a doctor. “Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life, even if they go over a certain amount? I want to make sure folks get the care they need.”
Cassidy said in his latest interview Sunday on CBS that he hasn’t yet decided how he will vote on the Senate’s version of Trumpcare, which will eject some 23 million people from health insurance and will carve $800 billion out of Medicaid.
“Right now I am undecided,” Cassidy said on “Face The Nation.” There “are things in this bill that adversely affect my state, that are peculiar to my state. A couple of the things I am concerned about, but if those can be addressed I will [vote for the bill]. And if they can’t be addressed, I won’t.”
On Friday, Cassidy said in response to a question from a Washington Post reporter that the Senate bill “begins to address the Jimmy Kimmel test.”
Just days before Cassidy’s CNN interview in May, Kimmel had tearfully recounted the story of his newborn son’s open-heart surgery on his program in April. It was the “longest three hours of my life,” said Kimmel, who reassured the audience that the story had a “happy ending” for baby Billy.
Kimmel used his own horrifying ordeal to make a plea for access to health care for every American. He said his son’s situation was a classic case of a “pre-existing condition” because it happened at birth.
“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make ... whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?” he asked to wild audience applause. Politicians need to “understand that very clearly,” he added.
“Let’s stop with the nonsense. This isn’t football. There are no teams. We are the team. It’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”
Crying again, Kimmel talked about other families at his son’s hospital. “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life,” he said. “It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”
Kimmel also retweeted a message Sunday from Child Health USA saying that the Senate’s Trumpcare bill doesn’t pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, “not even close.”
In addition, Kimmel retweeted a Jake Tapper tweet about a CNN interview Sunday with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who refused to say if his taxes would be cut with Trumpcare.
Kimmel had Cassidy on his program on May 8 via satellite to discuss the House version of Trumpcare, and Cassidy talked then about how the Senate would address some of the holes in that bill. That’s when Kimmel clarified the “Jimmy Kimmel test” that he repeated in his tweet Sunday to Cassidy. “Hey, man, you’re on the right track,” Cassidy said on the program.