Kimmel: When comedians take on U.S. senators
Behold, the nation’s new “authority on health-care policy”—Jimmy Kimmel, said Jay Caruso in WashingtonExaminer.com. The liberal late-night host has been leading the crusade to protect Obamacare after revealing in April that his newborn son had a congenital heart defect. During the GOP’s la test attempt to repeal and replace Obama’s failing health-care law, one of the bill’s architects, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) even created “The Jimmy Kimmel test”: Any replacement bill would have to provide adequate health care for a child like Kimmel’s. But in a sanctimonious monologue, Kimmel recently accused Cassidy of breaking his promise and said his bill would have let insurers charge people with preexisting conditions far more. In reality, said David Harsanyi in National Review .com, the bill would have required any state that opted out of Obamacare’s pre existing condition rule to provide “adequate and affordable health-insurance coverage.” Celebrities like Kimmel should drop the “cheap zero-sum emotionalism” and leave policy to the experts.
Kimmel may be no health-care expert, said Dan Diamond in Politico.com. But he was right: Cassidy broke his promise. The “adequate and affordable” phrase in the Cassidy-Graham bill was so vague as to mean nothing, and would have allowed states to bring back the highrisk pools and sky-high premiums for preexisting conditions that Obamacare got rid of. Kimmel was also correct in stating that the GOP bill would have resulted in tens of millions fewer people being insured overall. The real problem, said Daniel Drezner in The Washington Post, is not that “comedians are aspiring to wade into public policy.” It’s that Republicans and President Trump tried to force through a heartless bill whose impact on real people they either didn’t understand or didn’t care to know.
Kimmel certainly isn’t the first comedian to wade into politics, said Theodore Kupfer in NationalReview.com. David Letterman and Jay Leno often lampooned Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. George Carlin was perpetually outraged by all politicians. But even at their “rawest,” these guys were telling jokes, and at least trying to be funny. They didn’t act like “public intellectuals” delivering long, earnest sermons on specific policy questions, like Kimmel and his late-night brethren John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. “In the era of Trump, it’s apparently time for comedians to get serious”—to the detriment of both good policy and “good jokes.”