ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel isn’t likely to stop talking about health care anytime soon — especially after the harrowing surgery experience with his infant son, Billy, and the massive response he’s received from viewers. But he did reach some closure on Tuesday night.
“Thank you for joining us on a day of great relief for many millions of Americans. Because the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill, a bill I’ve been speaking out against all week, we got news today — it shall not pass,” Kimmel said triumphantly, as his audience broke into loud applause. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to pull the plug this afternoon because they didn’t have the votes. Officially now, Graham-Cassidy is dead. I haven’t been this excited about something being dead since Bin Laden.”
Last week, Kimmel delivered several scorch-earth monologues about the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La). In May, after Kimmel’s emotional story about his son and plea to help other families afford health care, Cassidy appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Cassidy said he would oppose a health-care bill in which people with preexisting conditions were not protected or had lifetime caps for insurance companies, and nicknamed some of his guidelines “the Jimmy Kimmel test.”
When Kimmel discovered the Cassidy-Graham bill did not meet those requirements, he accused Cassidy of lying to his face. Cassidy shot back that Kimmel simply didn’t understand. Kimmel doubled down, and his monologues went viral. On Tuesday, Kimmel credited Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for saying they would vote “no” on the bill.
“On behalf of my family, especially my son, Billy, I want to sincerely thank those of you who called your representatives and made your voices heard and got involved,” Kimmel told his viewers.
Kimmel wasn’t finished, though, and quickly directed some ire toward President Trump, who criticized McCain in a tweet on Tuesday.
“I bet the walls in the Oval Office are filled with dozens of tiny little fist holes today,” Kimmel said, and mocked Trump’s use of “my oh my.” “He’s so mad he’s turned into Scarlett O’Hara.
“And by the way, McCain didn’t even flip-flop,” Kimmel continued. “He’s still in favor of repealing and replacing, just not repealing and replacing with a flaming bag of dog crap. And the idea that Donald Trump would criticize anyone for changing his position is very rich. It’s definitely richer than he is. Donald Trump has more flip-flops than a Jimmy Buffett concert. No one contradicts himself more.”
He showed a brief video of some of Trump’s past statements in various TV interviews. (“In many ways I identify more as a Democrat.” “I won’t have time to play golf.” “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns.”) “His memory is shorter than his fingers,” Kimmel said.
Kimmel ended with some advice to Congress, adding that “we need a system that provides quality affordable health care to every American” and although Obamacare is a start, it’s certainly not perfect.
“Some Republicans are already saying they’ll take another shot at repeal and replace next year, even though only 24 percent of Americans approved of Graham-Cassidy and only 12 percent approved of their last one,” Kimmel said. “Look, I’m not a congressman. I don’t want to tell you how to do your jobs. But here’s how to do your jobs, okay?”
He concluded: “Instead of writing a bill by candlelight on a Bazooka wrapper in the back of a Senate broom closet and then lying about what it will do, try this. Hold a bunch of hearings. At those hearings, invite experts to speak: doctors, patients, hospital administrators, health-care analysts, insurance people. Invite them all, find out what’s working, find out what needs to be fixed. And then write a bill based on all the stuff you found out from them. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes you have to think inside the box.”