Jimmy Kimmel Is Not Messing Around in Taking His Healthcare Critics to Task
A week ago, Jimmy Kimmel made an impassioned plea for lawmakers to find some common ground in the idea that everyone—including children—should have healthcare regardless of their ability to afford it, after his newborn son needed heart surgery. Everything is going alright for the Kimmels so far, but some voices in the media somehow found something negative to say about Kimmel’s fairly unimpeachable comments.
In his original monologue, Kimmel kept things light on political policy details, with the exception noting Congress’ good decision to increase funding for the National Institute of Health, but that didn’t stop some commentators for slinging unnecessary insults over perceived partisanship. In this week’s followup, Kimmel did get a bit more specific on the House Republican healthcare bill that has now made its way to the Senate, but his concerns on the matter were still fairly non-partisan.
The “American Health Care Act” weakens protections for people with preexisting conditions. Yes, that portion of the bill requires individual states to request waivers to do so, but that provision didn’t wind up there by accident with the intent that no one would use it. The bill also cuts funding to Medicaid, while giving out tax cuts to the wealthy. To help explain these things, Kimmel reached across the political aisle to Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who says he wants the Senate’s answer to the House bill to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test” of actually being aimed at helping people get healthcare.
Kimmel asked him a few questions, and as expected, they clearly agree on the broad ideas that as many people as possible should be able to get healthcare and shouldn’t go bankrupt trying to afford it. Cassidy kept coming back to the issue of providing financial relief for the middle class, at which point Kimmel pointed out that we’d be able to help the middle class a lot more if we weren’t giving tax breaks to the rich. Cassidy’s suggestion? Call your senator of whatever political party and tell them what you want in a healthcare bill.
As usual, this is not about claiming that President Obama and the Affordable Care Act were or are perfect. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about making sure that plans to address problems with the ACA actually address those problems, rather than just shifting the burden around onto even more vulnerable people while giving the rich a tax break. That’s something we should all be able to agree on—except for any among the rich who lack compassion, I guess.
If Republicans can come up with a way to fix any issues with the Affordable Care Act without backtracking on the good things about it, we’ll all be a lot happier, but their current bill is … not that, and there’s nothing wrong with Kimmel pointing that out. Those who accused Kimmel of twisting his message about his son into something partisan, rather than trying to bring both sides together on universal goals, should take a good hard look at who was really doing that.
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