Jimmy Kimmel jumped on news McCain said he cannot vote for the latest GOP health care plan. McCain said this afternoon he will not support the bill without a CBO score and bipartisan input, sticking to what he previously had said he would do, despite his relationship with bill co-author Sen. Lindsey Graham. With McCain’s “no” vote, bill is now just one additional thumbs down from failing. Sen. Rand Paul has vowed to vote “no” and Sen. Susan Collins is expected to follow suit.
“Thank you Sen. John McCain for being a hero again and again and now AGAIN,” Kimmel enthused, via Twitter.
Around the time McCain was issuing his statement, the Brookings Institution estimated the so-called Cassidy-Graham plan would cause 15 million people to lose health care coverage over the next two years, after which another 21M would lose coverage from 2020 to 2017. Brookings’ previous estimates on the fallout of other GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have been on par with Congressional Budget Office estimates, noted Axios. That’s important, the news outlet explained, because the CBO was not going to have sufficient time to release its estimate of coverage losss on the Cassidy-Graham plan.
Kimmel made national headlines attacking the bill; just yesterday he tangled with President Donald Trump on Twitter on the subject of the latest GOP Obamacare kill bill. Kimmel found himself in the middle of this battle after his son, Billy, had open heart surgery at age 3 days, when Sen. Bill Cassidy guested on his show to make assurances to Kimmel’s audience that he failed to keep.
“The reason I had him on the show in the first place is because he started telling people that any plan he supported would have to pass what he called the Jimmy Kimmel Test,” Kimmel reminded all those who had been bashing him for days, for having waded into the debate.
After guesting on JKL, Cassidy co-authored the bill, with Sen. Lindsey Graham, that “most definitely does not pass that test,” Kimmel told viewers Thursday night, then walked them though the various promises Cassidy made on his show that he broke in the bill.
President Donald Trump and Kimmel had traded tweets about the bill, and Cassidy, during the day. “I guarantee [Trump] doesn’t know anything about this Graham-Cassidy bill,” Kimmel told his viewers Thursday night. “He doesn’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. He barely knows the difference between Melania and Ivanka.”
Kimmel’s tweet, followed by Sen. McCain’s full statement:
As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate. Committees of jurisdiction should mark up legislation with input from all committee members, and send their bill to the floor for debate and amendment. That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority.
I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case. Instead, the specter of September 30th budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process.
We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do. The issue is too important, and too many lives are at risk, for us to leave the American people guessing from one election to the next whether and how they will acquire health insurance. A bill of this impact requires a bipartisan approach.
Senators Alexander and Murray have been negotiating in good faith to fix some of the problems with Obamacare. But I fear that the prospect of one last attempt at a strictly Republican bill has left the impression that their efforts cannot succeed. I hope they will resume their work should this last attempt at a partisan solution fail.
I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.
I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition. Far from it. The bill’s authors are my dear friends, and I think the world of them. I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I.
I hope that in the months ahead, we can join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to arrive at a compromise solution that is acceptable to most of us, and serves the interests of Americans as best we can.