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Kimmel prescribes ignorance, again

Would he want his son to share the fate of Charlie Gard?

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In his latest health care diatribe, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel says that health care is not his “area of expertise.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

But before we examine the various ways he is wrong, let’s look at his complaint that Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Slick) lied to his face when he told Kimmel that any health care legislation he’d support would ensure no family is ever denied medical care. Well, Mr. Kimmel, welcome to the club! Conservatives have known how dishonest Sen. Cassidy can be for a few months now. When he was in the House of Representatives, Cassidy voted for full repeal of Obamacare. That no doubt helped him with conservatives when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Indeed, his campaign website states that, “Instead of Obamacare’s one-size fits all approach, patients should be able to choose the plan that is most in line with their needs.” He let us believe that when he was in the Senate he would work to get rid of Obamacare. Yet when he had the chance in the Senate, he voted against full repeal and pushed a bill that kept some of the worst parts of Obamacare. Kimmel seemed genuinely upset that Cassidy lied.  Why would Kimmel ever take him at face value? Just a small bit of Internet searching would have shown him Cassidy isn’t to be trusted.

It’s unfortunate Kimmel doesn’t have a better understanding of health insurance. If he did, he might have realized right away that Cassidy was selling him a bill of goods. Kimmel claims Cassidy wanted: 1. Coverage for all, 2. No discrimination based on preexisting conditions, 3. Lower premiums for middle-class families, and 4. No lifetime caps. The reality is that 2 and 3 are incompatible. When insurers can’t deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions or charge high enough premiums to reflect those  preexisting conditions, everyone else, including middle-class families, pay higher premiums. Worse still, when healthier people realize that insurers can’t deny them coverage when they get sick, they are more likely to forego health insurance altogether. Fewer healthy people in health insurance risk pools also means higher premiums. Kimmel doesn’t need to take my word for it, though. The Obamacare exchanges prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions. As a result, premiums on the exchanges are skyrocketing.

Kimmel’s ignorance of health care extends beyond our shores. “Somehow Japan, England, Canada, France, Germany—they all figured health care out,” he claimed. “And don’t say they have terrible health care because it’s just not true.”

Charlie Gard might disagree—if he was still alive. Charlie, you may recall, was an infant with a deadly genetic disease who was in the hospital in England. His parents had raised the money so he could try an experimental procedure in the United States. Yet the health care authorities and the British courts high-handedly declared the treatment wouldn’t work and refused to let Charlie’s parents remove him from the hospital. In the end, the authorities were so cruel that they wouldn’t let his parents take him home to die.

Charlie’s is hardly an isolated case. Britain’s health care system also denies medical care to elderly people whom physicians decide will not benefit from treatment. And then there are the long wait times for surgery and cancer treatment. Perhaps Kimmel should invite Charlie Gard’s parents on his show so they can tell them what it would have been like if the authorities had denied his son, born with a congenital heart defect, life-saving surgeries. And before you cry foul, that I’m politicizing Kimmel’s son, Kimmel has already done that. In fact, he admitted it Tuesday night. It’s fair game.

When Kimmel first used his son’s illness to attack Republican health care proposals, Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner posted an excellent rebuttal. “[N]o healthcare system is a panacea. All involve tradeoffs … Kimmel has done a tremendous disservice by perpetuating the myth that there are easy solutions to the complex problem of how to finance and deliver healthcare.”

Sadly, Kimmel did it again.

The Author

David Hogberg

David Hogberg is a writer living in Maryland. He is author of the book, "Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians."

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