Val Kilmer Was in DC This Week Lobbying for What?!
Val Kilmer is a part-time Washington lobbyist now.
Earlier this week, the film and stage actor (Batman Forever, Top Gun, The Doors, MacGruber) was on Capitol Hill advocating for the Equitable Access to Care and Health Act, which would expand Americans' ability to claim religious exemptions to Obamacare's health insurance mandate. Kilmer alerted the world to his latest foray into political advocacy with a series of tweets, which included a photo taken at the Hart Senate Office Building.
In the bowels of government WASHINGTON DC twitter.com/ValEKilmer/sta…— Val Kilmer (@ValEKilmer) May 8, 2013
A day lobbying for health care exemption on the hill. The EACH ACT (bill #1814). twitter.com/ValEKilmer/sta…— Val Kilmer (@ValEKilmer) May 8, 2013
New hair do for my new job as lobbyist twitter.com/ValEKilmer/sta…— Val Kilmer (@ValEKilmer) May 9, 2013
The description of "lobbyist" here should not be taken literally; a search on the House lobbying disclosure webpage does not yield Kilmer's name.
The EACH Act is sponsored by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), best known for getting his six-pack abs splashed on the cover of Men's Health. Under the EACH Act, Americans can avoid the insurance mandate if they file an affidavit stating that their religious faith bars them from buying insurance. Various religious groups have fiercely opposed the law, and Obamacare already includes a "religious conscience exemption."
Kilmer did not respond to requests for comment and it's not known whom he met with (he reportedly had dinner with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York). "We have no idea why he was at the Hill; we have nothing to do with that part of his life," a representative for the actor said. "He doesn't have a publicist now, and he doesn't really do interviews."
Kilmer's visit is likely linked to his religious faith; he is a committed Christian Scientist. "It is quite a challenging faith," he told Esquire in 2005. Certain Christian Scientists' beliefs about health care, particularly their denial of modern medical care to children, are controversial, to say the least.
This isn't the 53-year-old actor first brush with politics. A few years ago, Kilmer considered making a run for governor of New Mexico, consulting with strategists and politicos; then-New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said he liked Kilmer's prospects partly because "he was Batman." He has engaged in some environmental activism and supported Ralph Nader in the 2008 presidential election. In 2010, Kilmer teamed up with the ACLU to win the right to convert his ranch near Santa Fe into a posh bed-and-breakfast.
It's hard to say if Val Kilmer will continue his public charge for Obamacare religious exemptions. As for merging elements of his faith and profession, it's still a work in progress: For more than a decade Kilmer has been working on a "tragicomic" film about Mark Twain—and Christian Science church founder Mary Baker Eddy.