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Jimmy Kimmel Says Sen. Cassidy Fell Short Of Standard For Obamacare Repeal

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Now the story of a senator and a late-night host in a public feud over this health care bill.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It started back in May. Jimmy Kimmel's wife gave birth to a baby boy who was born with a heart condition. Kimmel recounted his son's surgery and recovery on the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")

JIMMY KIMMEL: If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something that - whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean we do.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

CHANG: A lot of people heard him. One of them was Senator Bill Cassidy. Later that week, he coined a phrase on CNN while talking about some of the proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BILL CASSIDY: I asked, does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test? Would a child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life?

SHAPIRO: A few days later, Senator Cassidy came on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC to talk about health care, and they had a friendly rapport.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")

KIMMEL: Do you believe that every American regardless of income should be able to get regular checkups, maternity care, et cetera - all of those things that people who have health care get and need?

CASSIDY: Yep.

CHANG: Fast forward to last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")

KIMMEL: This guy Bill Cassidy just lied right to my face.

CHANG: Kimmel ripped into the Graham-Cassidy bill.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")

KIMMEL: So yep is Washington for nope I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAPIRO: This morning Senator Bill Cassidy fired back, saying Kimmel doesn't understand the bill.

CHANG: As Senator Cassidy works to secure the votes needed to pass this bill, Jimmy Kimmel is urging his viewers to pressure their representatives to vote against it.

SHAPIRO: In a few days, we'll know which appeal was most compelling to lawmakers still on the fence.

(SOUNDBITE OF BON IVER SONG, "HOLOCENE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.