Celebrities / U.S. News

Jimmy Kimmel: Senator ‘lied right to my face’ on health care

FILE – In this March 8, 2015, file photo, Jimmy Kimmel arrives at the 32nd Annual Paleyfest : “Scandal” held at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Kimmel said on Sept. 19, 2017, that Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy “lied right to my face” by going back on his word to ensure any health care overhaul passes a test the Republican lawmaker named for the late night host. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

By PATRICK MAIRS, Associated Press

Jimmy Kimmel sharply criticized U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy on his late-night show, saying the Louisiana Republican “lied right to my face” by going back on his word to ensure any health care overhaul passes a test named for the host.

Kimmel said that a health care bill co-sponsored by Cassidy fails the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” The phrase was coined by Cassidy after Kimmel announced in May that his baby son, Billy, had surgery for a birth defect and argued that all American families should be able to get life-saving medical care.

“This new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test,” Kimmel said on Tuesday’s show. “With this one, your child with a pre-existing condition will get the care he needs if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel.”

Cassidy touted his Kimmel test in a May interview soon after the host’s announcement about his son, arguing that annual and lifetime caps on the amount spent on an individual’s health care was unnecessary. Kimmel later invited him on his show, where Cassidy reiterated his stance on spending caps and told the host he believed all Americans should have access to regular medical care.

On Tuesday, Kimmel said in his monologue that the bill introduced by Cassidy and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina not only fails the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” but also what he called the “Bill Cassidy test.”

“This guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face,” Kimmel said.

The Graham-Cassidy bill leaves the question of caps up to the states, which Kimmel said means “there will be lifetime caps in many states.” Kimmel’s comments echoed a statement released Monday by a coalition of 16 patient groups, including the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes. The statement said the Graham-Cassidy bill would “potentially open the door” to caps.

Kimmel said Cassidy should join a bipartisan group of senators working on a health care overhaul. If not, he said, Cassidy should “stop using my name because I don’t want my name on it.”

“There’s a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you,” Kimmel said. “It’s called a lie detector test. You’re welcome to come by the studio and take it anytime.”

Kimmel also argued the bill would leave more without health care coverage and raise premiums.

Cassidy’s spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment Wednesday from The Associated Press.

The senator told CNN on Wednesday that he was sorry Kimmel “does not understand” the bill. Cassidy said more people will be covered under his bill “than under the status quo.”

Senate Republicans are facing a Sept. 30 deadline to pass a repeal of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and avoid a filibuster from Democrats. President Donald Trump supports the plan.