Last week, an emotional Jimmy Kimmel took the stage on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and opened up about the complications faced by his newborn son.
Skipping the jokes, Kimmel’s tearful 15-minute monologue turned into a plea to politicians in Washington to protect and strengthen health care coverage for all Americans.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. ... Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?" Kimmel said.
Last night, in the return to his show, Kimmel told his audience that his son Billy was doing well before tearing into people who criticized his emotional plea for health insurance.
“I’d like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care,” a sarcastic Kimmel offered. “It was insensitive. It was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Some of the criticism was harsh. A headline on a New York Post column written by Michelle Malkin read “Jimmy Kimmel’s obscene lies about kids and medical care.” Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt's piece had the headline, “Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep.”
Former Illinois Republican congressman Joe Walsh took to Twitter to make the case that neither he or any other American should have to pay for the care Kimmel’s son needed.
Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn't obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else's health care.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) May 2, 2017
Then there is Trump supporter and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who claimed that all children would have received the same care as Kimmel’s son, who required open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot — a cluster of four heart defects.
"That's terrific if your baby's health problems are all solved during that one visit,” Kimmel responded. “The only problem is that never, ever happens. We've had a dozen doctor's appointments since our son had surgery.”
“There’s a reason he’s named after a lizard,” Kimmel said of Gingrich.
Kimmel’s hope is that now that the health care bill passed by House Republicans moves to the Senate, common sense will prevail. He brought on Sen. Bill Cassidy (R., La.), a gastroenterologist who has said he wants the Republican health care plan to pass “the Jimmy Kimmel test,” as well as follow through on President Trump’s promises, which include protecting pre-existing condition coverage, lowering premiums, and not cutting Medicaid spending.
“We’ve got to be able to pay for it, and that’s the challenge,” Cassidy said.
“I can think of a way to pay for it,” Kimmel responded. "Don't give a huge tax cut to millionaires like me.”
Kimmel also had a suggestion of what the "Jimmy Kimmel test" should actually mean.
"No family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can’t afford it," Kimmel said bluntly.