Last week, Jimmy Kimmel moved audiences to tears with the story about his son, Billy, who was born with a heart defect. Kimmel segued his anecdote into a call for Congress to vote against the repeal and replace of Obamacare, which declines to guarantee coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. It was a beautiful, emotion plea that cast Kimmel as an unlikely, albeit welcome, voice in the fight for fair health coverage in America.
Not everyone was moved by Kimmel’s story, though.
Kimmel pointed out that publications like the New York Post and Washington Times, as well as other critics, lamented Kimmel as an “out of touch” Hollywood elitist for “soiling” his comedy with politics.
“I would like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care. That was insensitive – it was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Since Kimmel’s initial plea, the House of Representatives did indeed vote to repeal and replace of Obamacare, which – if passed by the Senate in its current form – would leave it up to the states to decide if people with pre-existing conditions would be covered. Hardly the guarantee that people are looking for.
One representative, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), publicly called for the Senate’s bill to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test” this week following Kimmel’s heartfelt monologue. Kimmel invited Cassidy to speak with him on his show.
Senator Cassidy has used this story as a sort of rallying cry for health care, demanding that any new health care bill pass the “Kimmel test,” which means that if a child is born with health problems, they should be able to get the care they need no matter their family’s financial situation. Cassidy has been touting his own plan, which was formed with Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
Kimmel urged the senator to further define the Kimmel test: “No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it.”
The fact that Kimmel’s critics have called him an “elitist” for no reason other than the fact that he hosts a show – regardless of the content of his appeal – shows just how flawed and precarious the opposition’s argument is. In fact, Kimmel’s plea is echoed by millions of Americans on both sides of the aisle. The “Kimmel Test” is not a new concept, but one we already pass—with Obamacare.
Watch the entire segment below:
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.