Jimmy Kimmel makes tearful plea for Obamacare after near death of newborn son
For many, health care and the Affordable Care Act are partisan political issues. But, for this comedian, it's extremely personal.
On Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel opened his nightly talk show with an unusual, heartfelt monologue delivered through tears. Prefacing the story by telling viewers it had a happy ending, he spoke in detail about the birth of his son, William John Kimmel, last week who was born with a heart disease.
After a nurse noticed that he had a heart murmur and his coloring was off, Kimmel's son went into open-heart surgery. His condition will require another surgery in a few months and then another as a teenager.
After thanking the doctors, nurses and loved ones who helped throughout the ordeal, Kimmel pivoted and began to talk about president Donald Trump, the Affordable Care Act and the U.S. health care system.
"We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world," Kimmel said. "But until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all. 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."
He added that, if a child's parents didn't have insurance, "You may not even live long enough to get denied because of your pre-existing condition."
As his voice quivered, he again spoke about the importance of taking care of our children, regardless of politics.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," Kimmel said. "I think that's something that whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?"
His audience definitely agreed.
"We need to make sure that the people who represent us, and people are meeting about this right now in Washington, understand that very clearly," he said. "Let's stop with the nonsense. This isn't football. There are no teams. We are the team. It's the United States. Don't let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants."
Finally, Kimmel said, "No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child's life. It just shouldn't happen. Not here."
Trump has been a notorious enemy of the Affordable Care Act. He promised several times to repeal and replace the complex health law throughout his campaign and early presidency. In March, the Republican replacement bill, the American Health Care Act, failed to pass, handing Trump a major legislative failure early in his presidency.
As of early April, Obamcare enjoyed a 55% approval rating from voters, according to Business Insider. And, it clearly has the heartfelt backing of Jimmy Kimmel.