Heard on the Hill

Cassidy Talks ‘Kimmel Test’ With Kimmel

Tells Americans to call their senator on AHCA

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he wants an American plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy cited comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue about his son’s health condition as a standard to set in order to pass a health care bill, the senator made an appearance on Kimmel's show Monday.

He videochatted into the show to talk about the House passed bill, now in the hands of the Senate, and explained his stance on it.

“If you take the most prominent Republican politician, Donald Trump, he has that he actually wants all to be covered, wants to take care of preexisting conditions, without mandates, Americans hate mandates, and lastly, maybe most importantly, he wants to lower premiums,” Cassidy said. “Right now, families have premiums 20 and 30 thousand, almost 40 thousand dollars a year, with six to 13 thousand dollar family deductible. Now, a middle class family can’t afford that.”

He added, “We have got to have insurance that passes the Jimmy Kimmel test but a middle class family can no longer afford.”

Cassidy, a physician, said on CNN last week that the “barometer” is the Jimmy Kimmel test, speaking of the talk show host whose son was born with congenital heart disease and was able to get care.

[House Sends Health Care Hot Potato to Senate]

“The House plan was scored by the Congressional Budget Office as actually raising premiums, which is why, on the Senate side, we need to make it work,” Cassidy told Kimmel on Monday.

“Will the Senate make sure that the millions of children who count on medicaid don’t lose access to medical care?” Kimmel asked.

Cassidy said that he would rather Medicaid change into something that works for the patient and doesn’t give money to the state.

 “We will get there if the American people call their senator. If they call their senator that’s a Democrat, and say, ‘Listen, don’t just sit on the sideline, engage,’” Cassidy said. “Call your Republican senator, say, we’ve got to fulfill President Trump’s contract lowering premiums with coverage that passes the Jimmy Kimmel test. If we do that, we’ve got an American plan,” he said.

Kimmel told the audience that in Louisiana, Cassidy gave free health care to working uninsured people. He asked Cassidy if there should even be working insured people.

“No, there shouldn’t be, on the other hand, you have to have a health care program that not only works for the patient but works for the taxpayer,” Cassidy said.

Kimmel asked Cassidy that if regardless of people’s income, if they should be able to get regular check ups.

“Yep,” Cassidy replied.

Kimmel asked, “No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it? Can that be the Jimmy Kimmel test?”

“Hey, man, you’re on the right track,” Cassidy said and cited the challenge as being able to pay for it.

At the beginning of the show, Kimmel joked: “As a result of my powerful words on that night, Republicans in Congress had second thoughts about repeal and replace. They realized that what is right is right and I saved health insurance in the United States of America. Thank you… I didn’t? I didn’t save it? They voted against it anyway?”

The comedian then played the clip of Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, getting booed on stage on a town hall after he said, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

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