Friday Talking Points -- Senator Cassidy Fails Jimmy Kimmel Test

<p>The zombie legislation attacks (again)! While much else was going on in the political world this week, the most important event was the reanimation of the Republican "repeal and replace Obamacare" effort: It's not dead! It's <em>alive!</em> And it's lurching around threatening millions!</p>

<p>We went with a different metaphor, earlier in the week, that of <a href="http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/09/21/gops-sisyphean-efforts/">the Republicans as Sisyphus</a>, pushing the same damn rock up the hill once again. But we could easily just have gone with Yogi Berra's famous: "<em>It's d&eacute;j&agrave; vu</em> all over again." That might have fitted onto a tweet better, anyway.</p>

<p>Senator Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have written yet another attempt to destroy the American healthcare system under the guise of "protecting everyone from the evils of Obamacare." We don't know precisely how many tens of millions of Americans would lose health insurance under this plan, because they are hustling it through the Senate faster than the Congressional Budget Office <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/09/18/cbo-initial-report-on-graham-cassidy-will-lack-coverage-premium-estimates/">will be able</a> to "score" it. But it is almost-universally seen as even worse than the last few Republican efforts to strip health insurance from their constituents. Republicans don't care, because this is the last chance they'll get to repeal Obamacare with only 51 votes in the Senate. Here's <a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/21/16339524/republicans-obamacare-repeal-graham-cassidy-nobody-cares">a good rundown</a> of this hypocrisy, from <em>Vox</em>:</p>

<blockquote><p>If you transport yourself back to the summer, there were two issues on which a critical mass of Republican senators were unwilling to bend: They refused to back deep cuts to Medicaid, at least not without a softer landing and a viable alternative for covering the program's current beneficiaries than the GOP's bills provided; and they would not roll back Obamacare's protections for people with preexisting conditions.</p>

<p>Graham-Cassidy, when you cut through the spin, would do both.</p>

<p>. . .</p>

<p>"I think this process with Graham-Cassidy is an embarrassment on top of the previous embarrassments -- the cherry on top, if you will," a second GOP health care lobbyist told me. "A sweeping revision of federal-state roles in and funding arrangements for health care, with one hearing, no markups, no CBO score. Good grief."</p>

<p>"I still believe conservatives and Republicans have strong ideas for improving how health care is financed and delivered," the lobbyist continued. "But will anyone listen to them after this debacle is finally and mercifully over?"</p></blockquote>

<p>Let's hope not. The best (and snarkiest) reaction we saw all week was from a <em>Huffington Post</em> editor, who <a href="https://twitter.com/igorbobic/status/909865916296556544">tweeted</a>: "Trying to imagine GOP reaction if Dems were about to vote on Bernie's single payer bill without hearing, markup or info on deficits."</p>

<p>But that's exactly where Senate Republicans find themselves. Using only the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/09/20/graham-cassidy-and-fuzzy-math/">fuzziest of math</a>, most of them are ready to vote next week on a bill that they know is a horrible piece of legislation, solely because it is the last chance they'll have to "repeal and replace Obamacare."</p>

<p>As usual in such situations, individual Republican senators got to play the "Will I or won't I?" game with the press, all week long. Rand Paul actually refused to play, by stating from the start that he'd be a "No" vote. But then again, he voted for previous versions, so who knows if he'll actually stick to that or not?</p>

<p>John McCain teased everyone all week long, but <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/mccain-says-he-will-vote-no-for-gop-health-care-bill-dealing-major-blow-to-repeal-effort/2017/09/22/077ba8a4-9fc0-11e7-9c8d-cf053ff30921_story.html">this morning</a> let it be known that he's also a "No" vote. This leaves the fate of one-sixth of the American economy in the hands of two women, both of whom are still having fun with the media by not taking an unequivocal stand one way or the other. Lisa Murkowski is being heavily courted with special kickbacks for Alaska, but at this point it seems like Susan Collins is likely to vote against Graham-Cassidy. If she does, she would be the third "Nay" vote, meaning the bill will not pass. Until it lurches from the grave in a few months, one assumes. None of this is certain at this point, however, so we'll all be on pins and needles waiting for the outcome into next week, it seems.</p>

<p>The American people are (to be polite) not sold on the Republican plan. A <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/22/the-cassidy-graham-bill-probably-wont-become-law-and-more-than-half-of-america-is-good-with-that/">new poll out today</a> spells this out:</p>

<blockquote><p>A new <em>Washington Post</em>-ABC News poll finds that more than half of Americans (56 percent) prefer Obamacare to the latest GOP plan. Only 33 percent prefer the bill that Senate Republicans, panicked by a month back home with their base and no Obamacare repeal to show, abruptly put on the table this month.</p>

<p>Worse for Republicans: Roughly twice as many people strongly prefer the current law to the Republicans' plan, 42 to 22 percent.</p>

<p>These aren't necessarily gut reflexes, either. The <em>Post</em>-ABC poll described three aspects of the Cassidy-Graham proposal to voters before asking what they prefer: its elimination of the requirement for nearly all Americans to have health insurance, the phasing out of federal funds to help lower- and moderate-income people buy health insurance, and letting states replace federal rules on health coverage with their own rules.</p></blockquote>

<p>Perhaps Jimmy Kimmel is winning his battle of wits with Bill Cassidy? But we're getting ahead of ourselves... <em>much</em> more on that, later on.</p>

<p>As we mentioned, there was a lot of other political news this week as well. President Donald Trump gave his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, and World War III did not immediately break out. So that's a relief, even if Trump did threaten to "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/19/why-trumps-threat-to-totally-destroy-north-korea-is-extraordinary-even-for-him/">totally destroy North Korea</a>." He also called Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" for some reason, used the term "loser terrorists," and said that some parts of the world are "in fact, going to Hell." So the speech, even if written for Trump by others, still had a certain Trumpian flavor.</p>

<p>Reviews of the speech weren't exactly kind. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/09/19/trumps-first-speech-to-the-united-nations-was-a-disastrous-nationalistic-flop/">One of these</a> pointed out two major hypocrisies in Trump's speech: (1) that while the theme was sovereignty, Trump didn't even mention the Russian attack on U.S. sovereignty in the past election, and (2) that while demanding North Korea enter into a nuclear-arms-limitation deal with America, Trump also denounced the nuclear-arms-limitation deal with Iran and threatened he'd pull out of it. Not exactly incentive for North Korea, eh? But the <em>Washington Post</em> review did have its amusing moments:</p>

<blockquote><p>Beyond pragmatism, the speech will likely be remembered as one in which the president of the United States sounded more like a mob boss than a statesman -- think Robert De Niro as Al Capone in <em>The Untouchables</em> minus the baseball bat. This was a tough guy flexing his muscles so that all in the audience could see how tough he was.</p></blockquote>

<p>But, judging on a curve, at least World War III hasn't broken out. Yet.</p>

<p>What else? While at the United Nations, Trump <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/09/21/how-namibia-responded-to-trump-inventing-a-country-called-nambia/">embarrassed himself</a> in front of a group of African leaders, referring to the non-existent country of "Nambia" (he meant to say Namibia).</p>

<p>Other international events worth keeping an eye on: Russia and American-backed fighters are getting <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-warns-of-retaliation-if-facing-fire-from-us-led-coalitionin-syria/2017/09/21/00e3b81c-9eba-11e7-8ed4-a750b67c552b_story.html">closer and closer</a> to open warfare between them as the Islamic State is further pushed out of Eastern Syria. This is a tinderbox looking for another spark, folks.</p>

<p>The Kurds in Iraq <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqi-kurds-set-to-vote-on-independence-panicking-neighbors-and-washington/2017/09/18/2ca88c1c-9a6d-11e7-af6a-6555caaeb8dc_story.html">will vote next week</a> on a referendum to declare independence, which will not have any immediate effect even if passed, but which complicates the situation there as the fight against the Islamic State winds up. Eradicating the Islamic State is just going to mean another phase of the conflict in both Syria and Iraq, and not any sort of "end of the road," but few in this country have noticed this yet.</p>

<p>Angela Merkel is about to be re-elected to a fourth term in Germany, making her the most stable leader in Europe once again.</p>

<p>Oh, and Trump really, really wants a big military parade for July Fourth, just like he saw in France (on Bastille Day).</p>

<p>Bob Mueller's Russia investigation is chugging along behind the scenes, and Paul Manafort seems to be <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/manafort-offered-to-give-russian-billionaire-private-briefings-on-2016-campaign/2017/09/20/399bba1a-9d48-11e7-8ea1-ed975285475e_story.html">in the crosshairs</a> currently. Word is that Mueller is bringing all the pressure he can to bear in an attempt to get Manafort to flip and dish the dirt on Trump. Look for this to heat up in the next few months.</p>

<p>Speaking of people under investigation, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is under the microscope for his lavish use of private jets to get around. So far, he's spent over $300,000 on such flights and he hasn't even been in his office for a year yet. This led to an astounding bit of <em>chutzpah</em> from his office, in a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/investigation-launched-into-hhs-secretary-tom-prices-travel-on-charter-jets/2017/09/22/f7659a0c-9f9b-11e7-8ea1-ed975285475e_story.html">weak attempt</a> at an explanation:</p>

<blockquote><p>Price's office this week sought to justify his use of chartered jets, saying that the secretary's office evaluates the most effective way for him to travel and finds that it is sometimes necessary to charter planes to allow Price to both manage one of the largest executive branch agencies and stay grounded with voters.</p>

<p>"This is Secretary Price, getting outside of D.C., making sure he is connected with the real American people," said Charmaine Yoest, his assistant secretary for public affairs.</p></blockquote>

<p>OK, first off: nice use of "grounded," there. But seriously, Price has to make sure "he is connected with the real American people" by choosing a method of transportation which is <em>guaranteed to isolate him</em> from the real American people (other than charter pilots, of course)? Is the H.H.S. irony detector broken, or something? You know where you can meet an interesting cross-section of real American people? At airports, and on planes.</p>

<p><em>Politico</em> joined in with <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/21/tom-price-private-charter-plane-flights-242989">some prime snark</a> as well:</p>

<blockquote><p>In June, Price spoke at a physicians association conference in San Diego, where he vowed to wring out wasteful spending in the government's health care programs. Getting "value" for spending "is incredibly important," he said.</p>

<p>Price took a private plane to get to the meeting, which was one stop on a five-state sprint of charter travel that cost $50,420.</p></blockquote>

<p>In other amusing political news, the Environmental Protection Agency is holding anti-leaking training for its employees -- and the news immediately leaked to the press.</p>

<p>Speaking of press leaks, two of Trump's personal lawyers held a meeting in a restaurant <em>right next door</em> to the <em>New York Times</em> Washington bureau, and were <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/us/politics/trump-lawyers-white-house-russia-mcgahn-ty-cobb.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news">overheard by a reporter</a> discussing confidential legal matters. Maybe it's that whole "attorney/client/entire-freakin'-restaurant privilege" thing?</p>

<p>Speaking of the unfathomable, Sean Spicer appeared at the Emmys, for some bizarre reason. Do they even have a "Biggest Liar Of The Year" award? We had no idea!</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p align="center"><img src='http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/midotwsm.jpg' alt='Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week' /></p>

<p>Before we get to the main award, we have one notable <strong>Honorable Mention</strong> to hand out, to a Union leader, Alex Bastani, from the Labor Department.</p>

<p>This week, with a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/09/19/induction-of-union-busting-reagan-into-labors-hall-of-honor-shocks-union/">stunning amount of disrespect</a> for the rank and file, the Labor Department inducted Ronald Reagan into their "Hall of Honor." Now, Reagan was head of the Screen Actors Guild before his political career, but he also busted PATCO, the air-traffic controllers' union, while president. This led to Bastani's reaction:</p>

<blockquote><p>Oddly, officials of PATCO's successor, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, had no comment on the induction. But Alex Bastani, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 12 at the Labor Department, expressed his union's "shock and disappointment" in a letter to Acosta, urging him to reconsider. Bastani called Reagan's PATCO firings a "cruel act of industrial violence."</p>

<p>. . .</p>

<p>Bastani made a good point when he said the "temple honoring the work of men and women who sacrificed themselves to create an American middle class and who championed the causes of America's... working poor, is not the appropriate arena for Ronald Reagan."</p>

<p>Speaking of communism, Bastani also noted Reagan's connection, as a union president, to one of the shameful episodes in recent American political history: the Red Scare.</p>

<p>"It is a historical fact that he surrendered the names of dues paying members to the House Committee on Un-American Activities -- a Joseph McCarthy orchestrated witch hunt," Bastani wrote. "We recognize Mr. Reagan had the right to pursue his own personal political agenda. However, he did not have the right to take these actions while representing union members who were being harassed and bullied by the federal government simply for exercising their first amendment rights."</p></blockquote>

<p>Reagan being inducted in a Labor Hall of Honor is a travesty. Breaking PATCO was a pivotal event in the history of Unions in this country. Ronald Reagan is not remembered fondly by anyone who was in a Union at the time, that's for sure. Which is why speaking out against such a slap in the face is so important.</p>

<p>When considering our award this week, we ran into a problem, because the recipient's political affiliation is unknown (at least as far as we could figure out in five minutes on Google). So we're just going to have to rename it the <strong>Most Impressive Late-Night Host Of The Week</strong>, to cover all the bases. Technically, this really should be the second time we are awarding the <strong>MILNHOTW</strong>, since all the way back in <a href="http://www.chrisweigant.com/2008/09/12/friday-talking-points-47-our-first-anniversary/">FTP&nbsp;[47]</a> we gave the <strong>MIDOTW</strong> to Craig Ferguson, not knowing whether he was a Democrat or not. But the first-ever official <strong>MILNHOTW</strong> award goes this week to none other than Jimmy Kimmel, for being the most effective voice speaking out against the Graham-Cassidy bill in the entire country.</p>

<p>We'll explain all of this in further detail below, since we're turning over our entire talking points section to Jimmy Kimmel's monologues from the past week. Normally, Kimmel is seen as one of the least serious late-night hosts, but this issue is intensely personal for him and his family. Which is why his words carry such weight on the subject. But again, we'll get to all this in detail in a moment.</p>

<p>Comedians on late-night regularly make jokes about politics, of course. But they rarely influence the debate in such a major way -- to the point where what they say is intensely discussed on Capitol Hill and in the Washington media. Perhaps the most fitting tribute to Kimmel this week was when Al Franken appeared as Kimmel's guest. Franken wholeheartedly supported Kimmel's position, and while we have no way of knowing how long ago this appearance was scheduled, it certainly was a timely week for a Democratic politician to appear. Kimmel was leading the charge, so it was entirely fitting for Franken to support him with an appearance.</p>

<p>Of course, it was entirely fitting in another way, as well. Franken began his bit by deadpanning (in the way only he can) the following hilarious statement: "I don't like it when comedians get involved in politics." [If you didn't get the joke, then you need to spend some time watching some old episodes of <em>Saturday Night Live</em>, when Franken was a writer and cast member.]</p>

<p>Kidding aside, though, Kimmel would never have been our pick for "most effective voice against a Republican healthcare bill" before he began this campaign. But we have to admit, he's doing a bang-up job so far. We have no idea how long the term "the Jimmy Kimmel test" will be remembered in American politics, but even its existence points to how critical his voice has been this year. So we're awarding the first-ever <strong>Most Impressive Late-Night Host Of The Week</strong> award to Jimmy Kimmel, with our thanks for being so effective a spokesman on a very important subject.</p>

<p>[<em>Congratulate Jimmy Kimmel via <a href="https://mobile.twitter.com/jimmykimmel">his Twitter page</a>, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.</em>]</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p align="center"><img src='http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/mddotwsm.jpg' alt='Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week' /></p>

<p>We're also not entirely sure Valerie Plame is a card-carrying Democrat, but she supported Hillary Clinton's campaign, so that's good enough for us.</p>

<p>This week, Plame tweeted a link to a virulently anti-Semitic article. She has apologized, after a fashion, but she's still getting the <strong>Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week</strong> award all the same. Here's <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/09/22/the-other-problem-with-valerie-plames-horrible-anti-semitic-tweet/">the full story</a>:</p>

<blockquote><p>On the first full day of Rosh Hashanah, unmasked CIA officer Valerie Plame tweeted out an article entitled, "America's Jews are driving America's wars." As if the headline weren't bad enough, the essay appeared on a website featuring such pieces as "It's time to re-think David Duke." Its argument mirrored a classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory: Jews run everything in America, and because of their irrational love for Israel they're running us into foreign conflicts, too.</p>

<p>It is nigh impossible to argue that the article was anything but vile. It called for identifying Jewish Americans as such when they appear on television (much as, it said, one might affix a warning label to a bottle of rat poison). That didn't stop Plame from trying, at first -- protesting that "many neocon hawks ARE Jewish." Finally, she progressed to the last of the all-too-predictable stages of post-Twitter meltdown grief and issued a full-throated <em>mea culpa</em>. She has since deleted her initial tweet.</p>

<p>It's also pretty clear that Plame's apology was insufficient. Perhaps, as she said, she simply "skimmed" the piece before posting it. But did she make the same mistake with the other anti-Semitic musings she has shared over the past few months? "I never heard this story about 9/11: The Dancing Israelis," reads one.</p>

<p>More interesting than the painfully obvious, though, is how the second Plame affair played into a broader debate about anti-Semitism in the United States. Conservatives crowed over Plame's fall from grace because her unmasking in the 2000s and her antiwar advocacy in the years since have made her a hero in the eyes of many liberals. In their eyes, the left's favorite member of the CIA had outed herself this time -- as a bigot.</p></blockquote>

<p>Nothing more really needs to be added to that. Except Plame's <strong>MDDOTW</strong> award. You can make the argument that Israel has too much influence over American foreign policy without being anti-Semitic, but Plame didn't do so. Instead, she linked to an article that definitely crossed that line. Apologizing after the fact is fine, but it doesn't erase the original misjudgment.</p>

<p>[<em>Valerie Plame is not a current politician or in public office, and it is our policy not to provide contact information for such persons, so you'll have to search for her online yourself if you'd like to let her know what you think of her actions.</em>]</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p align="center"><img src='http://www.chrisweigant.com/blog/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/ftp.jpg' alt='Friday Talking Points' /></p>

<p align="center"><strong>Volume 454</strong> (9/22/17)</p>

<p>Jimmy Kimmel definitely won the week in the talking points category. Now, granted, he's got a nationally-televised late-night comedy show, which is a bigger microphone than most politicians have access to on a regular basis. But he used his position this week to hammer on the Graham-Cassidy bill harder and more effectively than anyone else, which includes all Democratic politicians.</p>

<p>Kimmel has a very personal history with the Republican healthcare debate. His son was born with a congenital heart defect, and he movingly spoke out on his show earlier this year for the right of all parents to know that their child would be fully covered in such a circumstance. Senator Bill Cassidy, a physician himself, responded to Kimmel's plea, which he called "the Jimmy Kimmel test." So Kimmel had Cassidy on his show.</p>

<p>When Cassidy became co-author of another Republican healthcare bill, Kimmel felt he had to respond. His first monologue is <a href="https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/09/20/kimmel_blasts_gop_senator_cassidy_stop_using_my_name_to_push_health_care_bill.html">reproduced in full</a> below, because it contains better talking points on the subject than we could hope to write. His facts, for the most part, are entirely correct (as the <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/20/does-jimmy-kimmel-really-understand-the-gop-health-care-bill/">helpfully pointed out</a>, complete with the video clip of Kimmel speaking). Here's the transcript of what Kimmel had to say to Bill Cassidy:</p>

<blockquote><p>I know you guys are going to find this hard to believe. But a few months ago, after my son had open heart surgery. A senator named Bill Cassidy from Louisiana was on my show, and he wasn't very honest.</p>

<p>It seemed like he was being honest. He got a lot of credit and attention for coming off like a rare, reasonable voice in the Republican Party when it came to health care for coming up with something he called -- and I didn't name it this, he named it this -- the Jimmy Kimmel test, which was in a nutshell: No family should be denied medical care, emergency of otherwise, because they can't afford it. He agreed to that. He said he would only support a health-care bill that made sure a child like mine would get the health coverage he needs no matter how much money his parents make.</p>

<p>And that did not have annual or lifetime caps. These insurance companies, they want caps, to limit how much they can pay out. So for instance, if your son has to have three open heart surgeries, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece. If he hits his lifetime cap of, let's say, a million dollars, the rest of his life, he's on his own.</p>

<p>Our current plan protects Americans from these caps and prevents insurance providers from jacking up the rates for people who have preexisting conditions of all types. And Senator Cassidy said his plan would do that, too. He said all of this on television many times.</p>

<p>(<em>Clip of Senator Bill Cassidy on CNN: "I ask, does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test? Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in the first year of life? I want it to pass the Jimmy Kimmel test."</em>)</p>

<p>So last week, Bill Cassidy and Senator Lindsey Graham proposed a new bill, the Graham-Cassidy bill. And this new bill actually does pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, but a different Jimmy Kimmel test. With this one, your child with a preexisting condition will get the care he needs -- if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed.</p>

<p>Now, I don't know what happened to Bill Cassidy. 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. And guess what? The new bill? Does none of those things.</p>

<p>Coverage for all? No. Fact, it will kick about 30 million Americans off insurance. Preexisting conditions? Nope. If the bill passes, individual states can let insurance companies charge you more if you have a preexisting condition. You'll find that little loophole later in the document after it says they can't. They can, and they will.</p>

<p>But will it lower premiums? Well, in fact, for lots of people, the bill will result in higher premiums. And as far as no lifetime caps go, the states can decide on that, too, which means there will be lifetime caps in many states. So not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test. He failed his own test. And you don't see that happen very much.</p>

<p>This bill that he came up with is actually worse than the one that, thank God, Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and John McCain torpedoed over the summer. And I hope they have the courage and good sense to do that again with this one, because these other guys who claim they want Americans to have better health care -- even though eight years ago they didn't want anyone to have health care at all -- they're trying to sneak this scam of a bill they cooked up in without an analysis from the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office.</p>

<p>They don't even want you to see it. They're having one hearing. I read the hearing's being held in the Homeland Security Committee, which has nothing to do with health care. And the chairman agreed to allow two witnesses, Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, to speak.</p>

<p>So, listen, health care is complicated. It's boring. I don't want to talk about it. The details are confusing, and that's what these guys are relying on. They're counting on you to be so overwhelmed with all the information you just trust them to take care of you, but they're not taking care of you. They're taking care of the people who give them money, like insurance companies. And we're all just looking at our Instagram accounts and liking things while they're voting on whether people can afford to keep their children alive or not.</p>

<p>Most of the congresspeople who vote on this bill probably won't even read it. And they want us to do the same thing; they want us to treat it like an iTunes service agreement. And this guy, Bill Cassidy, just lied right to my face.</p>

<p>(<em>Clip of Kimmel and Cassidy's interview from May:</p>

<p><strong>JIMMY KIMMEL:</strong> Do you believe every American regardless of income should be able to get regular checkups, maternity care, etc., all of those things, that people who have health care get and need?</p>

<p><strong>SENATOR BILL CASSIDY:</strong> Yep.</em>)</p>

<p>So "yep" is Washington for "nope," I guess. And I never imagined I would get involved in something like this. This is not my area of expertise. My area of expertise is eating pizza, and that's really about it. But we can't let them do this to our children, and our senior citizens, and our veterans, or to any of us.</p>

<p>And by the way, before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I'm politicizing my son's health problems, I want you to know: I am politicizing my son's health problems because I have to. My family has health insurance. We don't have to worry about this. But other people do, so you can shove your disgusting comments where your doctor won't be giving you a prostate exam once they take your health-care benefits away.</p>

<p>Senator Cassidy, you were on my show. You seem like you're a decent guy. But here's the thing: Nobody outside of your buddies in Congress wants this bill. Only 12 percent of American supported the last one, and this one is worse. Right now, there's a bipartisan group of senators working to improve the health-care system we have. We want quality, affordable health care. Dozens of other countries figured it out.</p>

<p>So instead of jamming this horrible bill down our throats, go pitch in and be a part of that. I'm sure they could use a guy with your medical background. And if not? Stop using my name. Okay? 'Cause I don't want my name on it. There's a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you; it's called the lie detector test. You're welcome to stop by the studio and take it anytime.</p></blockquote>

<p>Senator Cassidy was not amused, and went on television the next morning to counter Kimmel's claims. He didn't do a very good job, since Kimmel has the facts on his side. This prompted <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/09/21/jimmy-kimmel-doubles-down-slams-sen-bill-cassidy-trump-and-fox-friends-over-health-care-bill/">another Kimmel monologue</a>, the next day:</p>

<blockquote><p>It was a bad morning for Senator Cassidy. He and his co-sponsor, Lindsey Graham, spent the morning defending the indefensible. This morning, the senator sat for an interview with Chris Cuomo, CNN, and pulled the "all comedians are dummies" card. </p>

<p>(<em>Clip of Cassidy saying: "I'm sorry he does not understand."</em>)</p>

<p>Oh, I get it, I don't understand because I'm a talk-show host, right? Well, then help me out. Which part don't I understand? Is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health-care assistance? Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having preexisting conditions? Maybe I don't understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits?</p>

<p>Or the part where the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, ALS, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the March of Dimes, among many others, all vehemently oppose your bill? Which part of that am I not understanding? Or could it be, Senator Cassidy, the problem is that I do understand and you got caught with your G-O-Penis out? Is that possible? Because it feels like it is.</p>

<p>When Sen. Cassidy was on my show in May, he told me that he believed that every American family, regardless of income, should be able to get quality health care. And I believed he was sincere. Sadly, the bill he unveiled last week with Senator Lindsey Graham indicates that he was not sincere. It is, by many accounts, the worst health-care bill yet.</p></blockquote>

<p>But the final commentary was perhaps the most brutal. Kimmel ridiculed the bill and tried to "make it simpler" with an edition of "Barista Theater." Kimmel and a barista in a coffee shop:</p>

<blockquote><p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> Hi there, what can I get you?</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> I'd like a black coffee, please.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> Sure thing. Your name?</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> My name is Jimmy.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> All right. (Pours coffee directly through a cup.) There you go. That'll be $3.50.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> What -- what are you doing -- what was that?</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> You asked for a black coffee.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> Yeah, but it's all over the table.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> Oh, sir, I'm sorry you don't understand. I provided you with coffee. Now it's up to the individual cup to decide whether you get it or not.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> What? What the hell are you talking about? A cup is a cup.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> Is it, though? We believe each cup is capable of making its own decision on whether to hold coffee or not.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> But your job is to serve coffee. Shouldn't I for sure be able to drink it?</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> Oh, no. I'm sorry, no. Putting bottoms on all the cups would be too expensive. So anyway, that will be $3.50, Timmy.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> I'm not paying it. It's Jimmy, by the way. And this is exhausting. I want no part of this at all.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> You're exhausted?</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> Yes.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> That's a preexisting condition. Your new total is... $387.50.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> That's ridiculous. I'm not paying $387.50.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> Ridiculous? Actually, it is adequate and affordable.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> You know what? I'll just go to another coffee place, thank you.</p>

<p><strong>BARISTA:</strong> This is how all coffee shops are now. If you want your coffee in a cup, go to Canada.</p>

<p><strong>KIMMEL:</strong> Fine. You know what? Their president is cuter anyway.</p></blockquote>

<p align="right"><strong>-- <em>Chris Weigant</em></strong></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><em>Chris Weigant blogs at:</em></p>

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<p><em>Follow Chris on Twitter: </em><a href="http://twitter.com/ChrisWeigant">@ChrisWeigant</a></p>

<p><em>Full archives of FTP columns: </em><a href="http://www.fridaytalkingpoints.com">FridayTalkingPoints.com</a></p>

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