Policy expertise is hard-won and not likely to dawn suddenly during crises. It’s also not something that resides in people who make jokes for a living. Just as Kimmel is entitled to share his opinion, his audience is entitled to seek more-informed ones …Sanctimony degrades comedy. Who really laughs at The Daily Show, Full Frontal, or Last Week Tonight? But more importantly, swapping two unrelated discursive forms corrodes public discourse. Policy isn’t funny, and comedy isn’t policy. Kimmel’s love for his son is understandable. But his epistemic humility ended after the accurate admission that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to health care. It’s irresponsible to pontificate on subjects one knows little about, but that didn’t stop him from calling Cassidy a liar.Once we substitute even sincere feelings for policy expertise, the results are unlikely to please anyone. Jimmy Kimmel can be funny, and he loves his son. Well and good. But Jimmy Kimmel knows policy? To paraphrase another comedian, comedians are not public intellectuals.
Kimmel goes too far in his criticisms, but he has grounds for waving the red flag. Solid protections under Obamacare have been replaced with squishier state options. There would be less money for health care, and while some would argue that states can do more with less, life might not turn out that way.
In the war of words between Jimmy Kimmel and Sen. Bill Cassidy, the late-night host has the better grasp of health policy, health care analysts say …Cassidy’s plan “would pave the way for insurers to deny coverage to people with a history of medical conditions,” five HIV/AIDS groups warned in a joint statement on Tuesday …“Graham-Cassidy, like the previous Senate ‘repeal and replace’ proposals, takes a fiscal crowbar to Medicaid’s knees,” warned Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. Those cuts could disproportionately affect children, program director Joan Alker added.“Kimmel did not overstate the impact,” Alker said. “If Graham-Cassidy becomes law, there is no guarantee a child born with a congenital heart defect will get the coverage they need. It would depend on where they live, but even states with good intentions would struggle to protect children with the massive cuts to Medicaid included in this bill.”The proposal’s significant cuts to Medicaid and other changes to the ACA’s regulations would lead to dramatic reductions in coverage for adults too, analysts say.“It is likely that the bill, if enacted, would lead to a loss of health insurance for at least 32 million people after 2026,” the left-leaning Commonwealth Fund’s Sara Collins wrote in a post on Wednesday, citing Congressional Budget Office analysis of similar legislation.
Oh, I get it, I don’t understand because I’m a talk-show host, right? Well, then help me out! Which part don’t I understand? Is it the part where … the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, ALS, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the March of Dimes, among many others, all vehemently oppose your bill? Which part of that am I not understanding?
“This is not the best possible bill — this is the best bill possible under the circumstances,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told Vox’s Jeff Stein. “Look, we’re in the back seat of a convertible being driven by Thelma and Louise, and we’re headed toward the canyon. … So we have to get out of the car, and you have to have a car to get into, and this is the only car there is.”Grassley was even more blunt.“You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” he told local reporters this week. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”So when you cut through the salesmanship around state flexibility and the evils of Obamacare, Senate Republicans will tell you right to your face why Graham-Cassidy, a bill nobody had taken seriously until a week ago, might very well pass the chamber in the next few days. They promised to repeal Obamacare, and this is the only Obamacare repeal bill left.That’s it.