Comedian and late night television host, Jimmy Kimmel, made a huge splash last week when he implored Congress to drop proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act, using a personal story about his newborn son's open heart surgery.
But Kimmel's story had logical flaws — namely, that no newborn would be denied critical care under the bill, only who would pay would change — and now, it's no surprise why: Kimmel's writers got an assist from Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer's office.
Kimmel claims he would have spoken out against the bill regardless of the help, but it's clear the late night host knew more about the bill than what he'd heard on the news — even if he watched only left-leaning media. Schumer's office, sources told The Daily Beast, reached out to help Kimmel, providing "technical guidance and info about the bill, as well as stats from various think tanks and experts on the effects of [Graham-Cassidy]," weaponizing the late night host into their own personal lobbying machine.
Armed with his Democratic talking points, the late night host used his monologue to assail Republicans — including the president — and even Fox News hosts (at one point, threatening to "pound" Brian Kilmeade, who suggested Kimmel was a paid political operative). The monologues had an apparent effect, and Graham-Cassidy is likely dead on arrival.
A source close to Schumer's office, with knowledge of conversations between Kimmel and the Senator's staff, defended using the comedian as a lobbying tool: “Jimmy wanted to learn more about what was going on politically and policy-wise,” the source said. “[And] he wanted to fight this thing.”
That's all well and good, but Kimmel's story became unassailable, even as his argument's quickly unraveled. Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro told an identical story — Shapiro's daughter had the same surgery, at the same hospital, with the same care team — but noted that the medical center was a charitable operation, and those who can't pay for their baby's emergency care aren't turned away, with their children left to die.
Similarly, conservatives took to Twitter to complain that Kimmel, whose net worth hovers around $35 million, would be more than able to afford the best care possible for his children, even in a fully single-payer society. But as the comedian enjoyed his health care perks, the masses would be left to struggle with the remnants of Obamacare, where if you aren't able to find employer-provided coverage, and don't qualify for subsidies, the "insurance" is bare-bones, and often incredibly expensive.
The only "gold" plans left in Illinois, for example, can run families a thousand dollars a month in premiums — with a $12,000 to $14,000 deductible, and a comparable out of pocket limit; having a sick child like Kimmel's under Obamacare could wipe a family out.
But none of that, apparently, occurred to Kimmel, who deliberately placed himself at the spearpoint of a massive pro-Obamacare campaign, even going so far as to contact progressive activist groups for help. “We’ve heard from and spoken to a lot of people, including Senator Schumer and the many charities and healthcare organizations that oppose this monstrous bill," a source from Kimmel's office told The Daily Beast.
It's no surprise that Kimmel went on to feature "prominently" in Democratic messaging around the bill: he'd agreed, at least implicitly, to be their most prominent spokesman.