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Comedian Jimmy Kimmel was on Day 2 of his war with Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on Wednesday night over the lawmaker's health care bill, the latest Republican effort to hamstring Obamacare.
Kimmel, in a late-night monologue on his ABC talk show, continued to brand Cassidy as a liar for claiming that his bill would prevent insurance companies from turning away people with pre-existing conditions and eliminate annual or lifetime caps on coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
"He said anything he supported would have to pass what he named 'the Jimmy Kimmel test,' which was fine, it was good," Kimmel said Wednesday night. "But unfortunately and puzzlingly he proposed a bill that would allow states to do all the things he said he would not let them do."
"He made a total about-face, which means he either doesn't understand his own bill or he lied to me, it's as simple as that," Kimmel said.
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Wednesday's monologue was a continuation of Kimmel's scathing attack on Tuesday, where he excoriated the senator for a health care bill that Kimmel said didn't past his test.
However, GOP lawmakers are not cowing to the comedian.
Cassidy, in an appearance on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning, shot back at Kimmel saying he "doesn't understand, not because he’s a talk show host — because we’ve never spoken."
"He’s only heard from those on the left who are doing their best to preserve Obamacare," Cassidy said. "He’s not heard from me, because we’ve not spoken."
The health care bill was introduced by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as the latest do-or-die effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. A vote in the Senate is expected Wednesday and the measure's fate remains uncertain.
The bill would mix Medicaid funding and Obamacare’s subsidies into block grants that states would use to craft their own health care plans. However, the bill's grants would include fewer federal dollars, meaning states could struggle to provide coverage to the same number of people.
Some states might ease protections on pre-existing conditions by allowing insurers to charge sick patients more or eliminate requirements that insurers cover certain essential health benefits.
The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan agency that reviews legislation, also has noted that easing protections on pre-existing conditions could cause some insurance markets to become unstable and significantly raise costs for certain medical treatments while lowering premiums.
In May, Cassidy appeared on Kimmel's show after Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue about the painful experience of seeing his son go through open-heart surgery.
At the time, Kimmel defended former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and its coverage of catastrophic health conditions and said it's important for low-income and middle-class families to have coverage.