“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.”
That was Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday evening, in a monologue reacting to the introduction of Graham-Cassidy, the (latest) bill that seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act. Kimmel had talked about health care on his show before, in May—when, after his newborn son had undergone open-heart surgery to repair the damage of a congenital heart defect, he delivered a tearfully personal monologue sharing the experience of going through that—and acknowledging that he and his family were lucky: They could afford the surgery, whatever it might cost. Kimmel concluded his speech by, yes, politicizing his son’s health problems: He emphasized how important it is for lower- and middle-class families to have comprehensive insurance coverage, with protections for people with preexisting conditions. “No parent,” he said, speaking through tears, “should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It shouldn’t happen.”
The monologue went viral—it was a speech that “will surely be a big part of his late-night legacy,” my colleague David Sims noted at the time—and one of the people who saw it was Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. The politician, a physician by trade, soon began talking about the need for an Obamacare replacement that would pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” Cassidy appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, sound-biting the same message. Cassidy assured Kimmel—and, per the transitive property of late-night television, the American public—that he would work to create a new health-care bill that would pass that test.