Jimmy Kimmel Responds To Critics Of His Plea For Universal Health Care

by Meredith Bland

Jimmy Kimmel talks to Senator Bill Cassidy about the “Jimmy Kimmel Test”

Last night, Jimmy Kimmel revisited the topic of health care a week after his emotional description of the birth of his son, who was born with heart defects requiring emergency surgery, went viral. He addressed some of the negative press he received because, amazingly, there are outlets out there who found things to criticize about his tearful plea for health care for dying children. He also brought on Senator Bill Cassidy (LA) to discuss the “Jimmy Kimmel Test,” a term that the Senator coined during an interview with CNN.

You would think that saying that it’s wrong for parents to have to decide whether or not they can afford to save their child’s life would be something that no one with a human heart could argue against. You would think that after Kimmel said the following, he would only receive praise and heartfelt agreement: “If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?…This isn’t football. There are no teams. We are the team, it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”

And yet, not so much.

At the start of last night’s show, Kimmel apologized for his previous monologue, saying, “I would like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care. It was insensitive, it was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.” He then displayed a few negative headlines he received after his monologue went viral. For example, The New York Post wrote a story about it with the headline, “Jimmy Kimmel’s Obscene Lies About Kids And Medical Care.” The Washington Times went with the more subtle, “Shut Up Jimmy Kimmel, You Elitist Creep.” Nice. We’re not sure what’s elitist about believing that children shouldn’t have to die just because their parents don’t have enough money to pay for their treatment, but okay, Washington Times. You do you.

He also pointed out the inaccuracy in a comment by Newt Gingrich, who said on Fox News Sunday that, “If you show up at the hospital with a brand-new baby and that brand-new baby has a heart problem, the doctors of that hospital do everything they can to save the baby, they don’t say, ‘We’ll take care of the baby right after you write a check.'” And that’s true. But, as Kimmel points out, there’s always some kind of follow-up care after a medical emergency, and those doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and extra surgeries don’t come free. So spare us, Newt, with your “one and done” approach to healthcare. That’s not anywhere close to reality.

Kimmel (who also shared that his son is doing well) then brought up the “Jimmy Kimmel Test,” a phrase coined by Republican Senator Bill Cassidy after he was asked during an interview if he could support a bill that allows insurance companies to cap their payouts to customers, something that could leave kids like Kimmel’s without health insurance by the time they reached their teens. Cassidy said, “As you present that, I ask does it pass The Jimmy Kimmel Test? Would a child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything he or she would need in that first year of life?”

Our response to that is, “What do you mean ‘the first year’?! The hell are they supposed to do after the first year?! Does anyone out there understand how hearts work?!” Kimmel’s response was to bring Cassidy on the show, press him on the details of the bill, and suggest a change to the Jimmy Kimmel Test: “Since I am Jimmy Kimmel, I would like to make suggestion as to what The Jimmy Kimmel Test should be. I’ll keep it simple. The Jimmy Kimmel test should be ‘No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.’ Can that be The Jimmy Kimmel Test?”

Senator Cassidy replied, “You’re right, Jimmy. What the hell is wrong with me? Of course, that should be the case for all Americans.”

Ha! No, that’s not what he said. Instead he told Kimmel he was “on the right track” but that the problem was how to pay for all that heath care, to which Kimmel replied, “I can think of a way to pay for it one way — don’t give a huge tax cut to millionaires like me and instead leave it how it is. That would be one way.”

Senator Cassidy replied, “Right again, Jimmy. How selfish and short-sighted of us to allow millionaires to keep more of their money while allowing children to die because their parents can no longer afford to pay to save them.”

Nope. That’s another lie. What Cassidy actually said was that people should call their Senators and tell them that. So let’s take his advice, shall we? Because apparently, our representatives aren’t able to do the right thing on their own, and because no child should be allowed to die because saving them would be too expensive.