Fact Check: Jimmy Kimmel Spews False Narrative About Obamacare

TV Personality Jimmy Kimmel arrives for the premiere of 'Office Christmas Party' at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on December 7, 2016. / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel spewed several false claims Monday night about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and urged Americans to purchase Obamacare or pay the individual mandate penalty.

Here are some of the false claims Jimmy Kimmel made about CHIP and Obamacare:

  • Kimmel argues that Republicans have held up CHIP, while in reality, Democrats have opposed any significant legislation to reauthorize CHIP.

Kimmel whined, “Congress failed to approve funding for CHIP for the first time, it was created two decades ago, this is literally a life and death program for American kids. And it’s always had bipartisan support, but this year they let the money for it expire while they work on getting tax cuts for their millionaire and billionaire donors.”

Contrary to Kimmel’s monologue, President Donald Trump signed a stop-gap government funding on December 8 which avoided a government shutdown and funded the CHIP program, which will allow states running out of CHIP funding to access unused federal dollars to continue funding their state CHIP program. Long-term funding CHIP currently remains in limbo while Republicans and Democrats continue to negotiate a compromise government funding bill; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi promised to block any government funding legislation that does not include amnesty for Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal aliens.

“We will not leave here without a DACA fix,” Pelosi said of the government funding negotiations between her and President Donald Trump.

Unfortunately for Kimmel’s narrative, in November the House passed their CHIP bill 242-174 against overwhelming Democratic opposition. Last month the Senate Finance Committee passed their version of CHIP funding last month.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Greg Walden (R-OR) called his Democratic colleagues “ironic and cynical” and lamented that “It is a tragedy this is not a bipartisan bill, as it always has been.”

  • Jimmy Kimmel claims that the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gives mostly tax cuts to their “millionaire and billionaire donors,” while the non-partisan Joint Committee on Tax found that the most substantial tax cuts go to the American middle-class.

The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation revealed in a study that the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gives a substantially larger tax cut to the American middle-class compared to the country’s wealthiest one percent.

Kimmel also said, “CHIP has become a bargaining chip while Republicans work on their tax plans.”

Kimmel then used his opening monologue to ask his viewers to call Congress and tell their representative to stop working on giving Americans tax cuts and focus on funding the CHIP program.

“Once again I’m asking you to make two phone calls, jam the House and Senate phones. Tell them to take a break from tax cuts for a minute and fully fund CHIP immediately,” Kimmel asked his viewers.

  • The late-night host claimed that the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal proposal would eliminate protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, while the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill did not propose to repeal any pre-existing conditions. 

Kimmel’s Monday rant was not the first time he politicized his opening monologue; the Jimmy Kimmel Live host used his bully pulpit to attack Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), claiming that their Obamacare repeal block-grant proposal would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions.

Sen. Cassidy fired back at Kimmel, explaining, “I’m sorry he does not understand. Under Graham, Cassidy, Heller,  Johnson, more people will have coverage and we protect those with pre-existing conditions.”

  • Kimmel urged his viewers to purchase their Obamacare before the December 15 or they may face a penalty; Kimmel neglects the fact that the Senate-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate.

The late-night comedian then urged his audience to purchase to buy their Obamacare plan because the deadline for enrolling in Obamacare is December 15. Kimmel also neglected to mention that the Senate-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found that 80 percent of those who pay the Obamacare mandate fine make less than $50,000 a year, making the individual mandate repeal a significant middle-class tax cut.

“I also want to remind everyone that Friday is the last day to enroll in the Affordable Health Care plan, in spite of President Trump’s attempt to sweep it under his rug,” Kimmel said. “Obamacare is not dead, it’s very much alive. Millions of Americans qualify for a reduced-rate or even totally free plans.”

Kimmel cautioned, “By the way, if you don’t do it you will pay a penalty of at least $695 next year if you don’t have insurance.”


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