Last night, Jimmy Kimmel devoted nearly seven minutes of his monologue to excoriating the new GOP health care bill. Back in May, one of the primary architects of the new plan, Senator Bill Cassidy said he believed any new plan presented should pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test.”
The “Jimmy Kimmel Test” in Cassidy’s own words boils down to this question: “would a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get anything he or she would need in the first years of life?”
This was in response to Kimmel’s heartfelt monologue a week prior detailing a harrowing few days in which his newborn son Billy was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and subsequently underwent open-heart surgery. Kimmel explained how Billy would need monitoring and treatment for the rest of his life: his son has a pre-existing condition. Kimmel used his platform to plea with lawmakers to ensure individuals with pre-existing conditions aren’t denied coverage, or price-gouged and left penniless for being sick.
Today, Bill Cassidy responded to Kimmel’s latest diatribe on CNN by stating that under Graham-Cassidy “More people will have coverage, and we protect those with pre-existing conditions.” Either Bill Cassidy is lying, delusional, or he knows less about his own health care bill than Jimmy Kimmel.
Graham-Cassidy permits states to apply for waivers to circumvent elements of the Affordable Care Act which include: opting out of protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and opting out of mandatory coverage of essential health benefits, among others. Cassidy claims that states who are granted waivers will be required to “ensure that those with pre-existing conditions have affordable and adequate coverage.”
Has there ever been a “protection” that toothless and vague?
What does “affordable” and “adequate” mean exactly?
This faux requirement is intentionally left vague in order to deceive the public into believing this bill will fix the issues of ObamaCare while maintaining its popular provisions. It does neither. According to analysis by Alavere Health, Graham-Cassidy would reduce federal health care funding by $215 billion. The remaining funds are to be reallocated through block grants that Cassidy and co. say will help maintain coverage around the country, but if you look at the numbers there’s no way this is possible. And what’s even more stunning, these block grants go away entirely at the end of 2026. There is no phase out; they just disappear.
Though this bill does not currently have a CBO score, and it may never get one as the GOP hopes to ram it through before anyone can know exactly what they’re voting for, there is no conceivable way this bill will insure more people. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, an estimated 32 million fewer American will have health insurance coverage by 2027 under Graham-Cassidy.
This bill butchers subsidies and guts Medicaid while sliding inadequate power to states to pave the way for, you guessed it, tax cuts for the rich.
Graham-Cassidy would be bad for older Americans, it would be bad for poor and lower-middle-class Americans, and probably everyone else—sans the rich. Though it is being billed as one, this bill is not a compromise, it is a moderately more clever way of tossing tens of millions people off of health care in the name of states rights and tax cuts.
Written by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.