“Next time, call,” seems to be the message from senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
“I wished he would’ve called Senator Cassidy to ask him if what I’m reading is true,” Graham said to NBC’s Kasie Hunt today. “Because you heard some liberal talking points that are absolute garbage. He bought it hook, line and sinker.”
Graham and Cassidy, snared by Hunt in a walk & talk interview, seemed especially peeved that Kimmel questioned Cassidy’s honesty.
“He didn’t give (Cassidy) the courtesy of hearing his side of the story. He went on national TV and called this man — who has worked for the underprivileged and health care all of his life — a liar,” Graham told Hunt. “And I think that’s inappropriate. (Watch video above.)
“I don’t like the idea of calling this good man a liar without ever talking to him first. That really says more about Mr. Kimmel then it does Dr. Cassidy,” Graham said.
Said Cassidy, “It was personal attack and I can’t help that.”
When Hunt points out that under the bill, states could opt out of covering pre-existing conditions, Graham snaps, “Where are you getting this garbage?” He eventually goes on to claim that “we’ll have 50 different ways of covering people who have been sick,” apparently meaning one per state.
The GOP senators were responding, of course, to Kimmel’s scathing, now-viral monologue from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC, during which the host (and dad of a newborn with a congenital heart condition) blasted Republicans for attempting to “sneak this scam of a bill” into law.
“I don’t know what happened to Bill Cassidy,” Kimmel said. “But when he was on this publicity tour, he listed his demands for a health-care bill very clearly. These were his words. He said he wants coverage for all, no discrimination based on preexisting conditions, lower premiums for middle-class families and no lifetime caps. Guess what? The new bill does none of those things.”
While members of Congress lined up to take sides today, former President Barack Obama derided the Graham-Cassidy bill as an attempt to undo “hard-won progress.”
Speaking in New York at a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation event, Obama said that “when I see people trying to undo that hard-won progress for the 50th or 60th time, with bills that would raise costs or reduce coverage or roll back protections for older Americans or people with pre-existing conditions, the expecting mom or the child with autism or asthma for whom coverage would once again be almost unattainable, it is aggravating.”
He continued, “And all of this being done without any demonstrable economic or actuarial or plain common-sense rationale, it frustrates. And it’s certainly frustrating to have to mobilize every couple of months to keep our leaders from inflicting real human suffering on our constituents.”
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