Jimmy Kimmel made a tearful, passionate plea on Monday night for national health care coverage, speaking out against political divides and noting “no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.”
Kimmel used his Jimmy Kimmel Live opening monologue to discuss his son William, who was born last week with congenital heart disease that required surgery (Kimmel’s son is recovered and at home now with his parents). After recounting the story of his son’s struggle through tears, Kimmel turned his thoughts toward Washington D.C. and the millions of other families like his in America.
“President Trump last month proposed a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health. Thank God our congressmen made a deal last night to not go along with that,” Kimmel said. “They actually increased funding by $2 billion and I applaud them for doing that.”
As the host explained, “more than 40 percent of the people who would have been affected by those cuts to the National Institute of Health are children, and it would have a major impact on a lot of great places,” including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Kimmel’s son was treated.
“Which is so unbelievably sad to me,” Kimmel said. “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. 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 pre-existing condition. If your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not even live long enough to get denied because of your pre-existing 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? We do.”
After the audience’s applause died down, Kimmel continued with a call for unity. “Whatever your party, whatever you believe, whoever you support, we need to make sure the people who are supposed to represent us understand that very clearly. 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. We need to take care of each other.”
Through tears, he continued, “I saw a lot of families there, and no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”
After the opening, Kimmel’s publicist, Lewis Kay, and actor Ike Barinholtz, called for reporters to ask White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about Kimmel’s remarks on health care coverage.