ABC

Jimmy Kimmel’s health care story resonates, draws Obama praise

It’s not every day that a late-night host’s monologue makes national news, but last night offered an exception.
Jimmy Kimmel used his opening monologue Monday night to give an emotional account of how his newborn son was diagnosed with a rare heart condition and almost died.

During the 13-minute speech, Kimmel also gave an impassioned defense of Obamacare and criticized President Donald Trump’s failed attempts to cut health spending.

The 49-year-old, who also hosted this year’s Oscars, broke down in tears several times as he opened up about the ordeal. Before revealing the details, he assured the audience “it has a happy ending.”
The host explained that his son was born last month with a rare heart condition, which required immediate surgery. He’ll need additional operations, but the overall prognosis appears encouraging.

This led Kimmel to take note of the debate underway on Capitol Hill.

“We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all,” the host said. “You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there’s a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance, because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a preexisting condition. And if your parents didn’t have insurance, you may not even live long enough to get denied because of a preexisting condition.

“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?”

Not surprisingly, the online clip of the monologue has gone viral. As I type, the YouTube clip has generated nearly 2.2 million views in less than 24 hours.

Barack Obama, who’s kept a pretty low profile in recent months and has said very little about the debate to gut the Affordable Care Act he signed into law, published a tweet this afternoon in response to Kimmel. “Well said, Jimmy,” the former president wrote. “That’s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.”

For Republicans, the timing couldn’t be much worse. Their legislation would end guaranteed protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and just yesterday, a prominent GOP lawmaker told a national television audience those with pre-existing conditions should be forced to pay far more in order to help those who “lead good lives” and behave “the right way.”

Kimmel just made far-right lawmakers’ task that much more difficult. If you were an on-the-fence House Republican, and you noticed that much of the country is weeping after watching Jimmy Kimmel talk about his baby’s pre-existing condition, how eager would you be to vote for a regressive and unpopular GOP bill?

Health Care

Jimmy Kimmel's health care story resonates, draws Obama praise