Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) defended his last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday morning after late-night host Jimmy Kimmel told his viewers that the senator lied to him.
Cassidy drew attention after he said he would not support a bill that denied coverage to children in need, saying he wouldn’t support any bill that didn’t pass the “Kimmel Test”—shorthand for ensuring that families wouldn’t be cut off from access to healthcare due to limits on coverage for pre-existing conditions.
On Tuesday night, Kimmel roasted Cassidy over his support of the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill, which would repeal the individual and employer mandates from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and shift a large portion of responsibility and healthcare decision-making to states.
“This bill he came up with is actually worse than the one that, thank God, Republicans like [Sens.] Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain torpedoed over the summer,” Kimmel said in a monologue on Tuesday night. “I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one. These other guys, who claim they want Americans to have better healthcare–even though eight years ago they didn’t want anyone to have healthcare at all–they’re trying to sneak this scam of a bill they cooked up.”
Cassidy didn’t seem to think Kimmel’s criticism was warranted. Speaking on CNN’s New Day, Cassidy said he was “sorry” Kimmel didn’t “understand” the Graham-Cassidy bill.
“More people will have coverage,” he said. “And we protect those with pre-existing conditions.”
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, like Kimmel, pointed out that under the bill, states would have control over allowing insurance companies to protect pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act requires pre-existing conditions be covered by insurance companies.
Sen. Bill Cassidy responds to Jimmy Kimmel: “I’m sorry he does not understand.” Under new health care bill “more people will have coverage” pic.twitter.com/tOGCWkqoeE— CNN (@CNN) September 20, 2017
The Graham-Cassidy bill is essentially a Hail Mary effort by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If they are unable to come up with 51 votes before Sept. 30, Republicans will no longer be able to pass a healthcare bill through budget reconciliation, making it possible for Democrats to filibuster any future attempts.