- Jimmy Kimmel Live/Youtube
The late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday expressed cautious optimism about the apparent death of the GOP’s latest healthcare legislation.
With Sen. Susan Collins of Maine coming out against the bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, on Monday, it appears the measure is dead, ending Kimmel’s weeklong run of impassioned attacks on the legislation.
In his monologue on the subject on Monday, Kimmel said that after speaking out last week, he met hundreds of people at events over the weekend who thanked him and told him the Affordable Care Act – the healthcare law better known as Obamacare – saved their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
The late-night host pointed to polls that found that more American preferred the ACA to the Graham-Cassidy bill, and he highlighted Republican lawmakers’ message on Obamacare.
“They don’t actually care what you think; they want you to think what they think,” Kimmel said. “That’s why they keep saying Obamacare is a disaster – you hear that word a lot. Obamacare definitely needs work, but think about this: Did anyone have to convince you Hurricane Harvey was a disaster? No, because it was a disaster. If someone has to keep telling you something is a disaster, it probably isn’t.”
Kimmel also thanked Sen. John McCain for coming out against the bill on Friday.
“The truth is John McCain probably saved the Republican Party by doing this,” Kimmel said. “Because if you think Graham-Cassidy is unpopular now, wait until people have to live with it – or not live with it – then who gets blamed? The Republican Party.”
After defending himself against criticism from outlets like Fox News, Kimmel brought up Collins’ defection and the apparent death of Graham-Cassidy.
“Thank you, Senator Collins. Maine needs affordable healthcare more than almost any state. You know, the sewers up there are filled with child-eating clowns,” Kimmel said, referring to the hit horror movie “It.”
“The best news is now I can go back to talking about the Kardashians,” he said.
Kimmel first threw himself into the debate in May after he said his newborn son, Billy, needed open-heart surgery hours after his birth. The legislation being debated at the time would have undermined protections for people with preexisting conditions, like his son, and allowed insurers to reinstitute lifetime limits on healthcare payments.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told Kimmel at the time that any legislation to repeal and replace the ACA would have to preserve those protections to earn his support. Cassidy dubbed it the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”
Watch Kimmel’s monologue: