Kimmel fires back at Cassidy over Obamacare repeal bill


Jimmy Kimmel escalated his war of words with Sen. Bill Cassidy over his proposed Obamacare repeal bill Wednesday night, blasting the lawmaker for “defending the indefensible” and continuing to support a measure he said was “by many accounts the worst health-care bill yet.”

Kimmel torched Cassidy for saying earlier Wednesday that the late-night host “does not understand” his health-care bill, adding that the Republican senator from Louisiana “either doesn’t understand his own bill or he lied to me.”

After a long and detailed critique of the bill, where he cited numerous health-care advocacy groups that opposed Cassidy’s legislation, Kimmel insisted the problem was not his own lack of comprehension, but rather the lawmaker’s inability to be forthcoming.

“When Sen. Cassidy was on my show in May he told me that he believed that every American family regardless of income should be able to get quality health care and I believe that he was sincere,” Kimmel said. “Sadly, the bill he unveiled last week with Lindsey Graham indicates that he was not sincere.”

He added: “It is by many accounts the worst health care bill yet.”

The recent public feuding between Kimmel and Cassidy marked a reversal from months prior, when they put forth an amicable debate on the merits of repealing Obamacare on Kimmel’s show.

During a May appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Cassidy sought to quell Kimmel’s fears that those with pre-existing conditions wouldn’t receive adequate health coverage if a GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act went through, positing that any piece of legislation should thus pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”

The discussion between lawmaker and comedian came about after Kimmel, whose infant son was born in April with a serious heart condition, delivered an impassioned and emotional speech on his show extolling the benefits of aspects of former President Barack Obama’s signature health-care bill.

But on Tuesday’s program Kimmel sharply turned on Cassidy, who along with Sen. Lindsey Graham is spearheading the latest GOP push to repeal Obamacare, accusing him of lying about coverage under the proposed measure.

“This guy, Bill Cassidy, he just lied right to my face,” Kimmel said Tuesday, after playing clips of Cassidy vowing to the late-night host that people with pre-existing conditions would protected under any health care plan he supported.

Cassidy provided a retort during Wednesday appearance on CNN, saying he was “sorry [Kimmel] does not understand,” his bill, arguing it did offer protections for individuals with preexisting conditions and that the bill would increase, not decrease, the number of Americans covered by health insurance.

Health care analysts told POLITICO Wednesday that Kimmel’s dissection of the Republican Party’s health care bill was more accurate than Cassidy’s.

Kimmel also took aim at other GOP senators who will soon vote on the bill – including Lisa Murkowski, Dean Heller, Shelley Capito Moore, Susan Collins and John McCain — listing the numbers for their congressional offices on-air, as he did for Cassidy Tuesday.

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