When we celebritize our politics, we end up with an idiot as President.
With that caution in mind, I note that celebrity Jimmy Kimmel, who is speaking out on health care policy on the basis not of pandering for ratings and money but on the experience of his infant son’s heart surgery, offers a sensible solution to Governor Dennis Daugaard’s concern that we can’t afford to help sick people: don’t give millionaires tax breaks! Last night Kimmel had this conversation with doctor and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who coined the term “Jimmy Kimmel Test” to refer to requiring that the Senate’s health care bill ensure that children born with heart defects be able to get all the care they need. Roll to 10:56 in the video for the following text:
Kimmel: Senator, since you mentioned this test, since I am Jimmy Kimmel, I’d like to make a suggestion as to what the Jimmy Kimmel test should be. I’ll keep this simple: The Jimmy Kimmel test, I think, should be no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it. Can that be the Jimmy Kimmel test, Sen. Cassidy, or am I oversimplifying it?”
Cassidy: “Hey man, you’re on the right track and if that’s as close as we get, that works great in government. Now we’ve got to be able to pay for it. and that’s the challenge. So all those middle-class families right now, paying $20 to $30 to $40,000 a year for their coverage, we have to make it affordable for them, too.”
Kimmel: “I can think of a way to pay for it is don’t give a huge tax cut to millionaires like me, and instead, leave it how it is. That’s my goal.
Cassidy: “Tell the American people to call their senators and endorse that concept.”
Kimmel: “I think that’s a good plan. Thank you, senator. I trust that you’ll keep your word” [Richard Rainey, “Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy Takes the Jimmy Kimmel Test,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, 2017.05.09].
While Celebrity Apprentice Donald Trump signs a budget that helps his millionaire family, celebrity Jimmy Kimmel says don’t cut my taxes—help everybody else! Hmm… not every celebrity is an arrogant, selfish jerk trying to raid the public treasury.
But you heard the Senator: call John Thune and Mike Rounds. Tell them, very simply, no caps on lifetime health insurance benefits, and no job-killing tax cuts for the rich. Tell them they don’t need to write a new bill to achieve that; they can act like conservatives and keep the law as it is.