WASHINGTON — Hours after Jimmy Kimmel unleashed a monologue attacking the latest bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act, two of the bill’s authors spent Wednesday morning defending the legislation against the late-night host, who in recent months has become an unlikely — and increasingly impassioned — critic.
Mr. Kimmel, who has closely watched the Republican effort to strip down health care since his newborn son had open-heart surgery, targeted Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana in particular. In what was only the latest instance of the ever-blurring line between late-night laughs and politics, Mr. Kimmel delivered an earnest monologue on Tuesday evening on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” accusing the senator of failing to deliver on several key issues, including lowering premiums, expanding coverage, banning lifetime caps and not discriminating based on pre-existing conditions.
“This guy, Bill Cassidy, he just lied right to my face,” Mr. Kimmel said. “Guess what? The new bill does none of those things.”
Hours later, Mr. Cassidy appeared on Fox News to say that Mr. Kimmel did not fully grasp the bill.
“I wish he understood completely,” Mr. Cassidy said.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the bill’s co-author, went on “Fox and Friends” to defend the legislation, which would provide individual states with billions in federal funds, and allow discretion over how the money is spent.
“I understand the emotional nature of having a sick child,” Mr. Graham said. He added: “I bet he looked at some liberal talking point, bought it hook, line and sinker, and went after Bill Cassidy without talking to him.”
Just months ago, Mr. Kimmel would not have been the most obvious choice to speak out about health care. But in May, he revealed in an emotional monologue that his son, Billy, had been born with a heart defect. Billy nearly died, but, his father noted, he was able to receive top-of-the-line care.
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