Jimmy Kimmel opened Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live emotionally telling his studio audience: “I have a story to tell about something that happened to our family last week. I will try not to get emotional and before I get into it, know it has a happy ending.”
Little more than a week ago his wife gave birth to their son, Billy, who appeared to be a normal, healthy baby — until about three hours after he was born when a nurse at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center noticed he had a heart murmur and was slightly purple. At 3 days old, during what Kimmel tearfully described as the “longest three hours of my life,” Billy Kimmel had open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and now is home with his family.
After reading a list of people he’d like to thank at Cedars-Sinai and Children’s Hospital, and at Disney and ABC and his show, Kimmel added, “I want to say one other thing.”
“President Trump last month proposed a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health. And, thank God, our congressmen made a deal last night to not go along with that,” Kimmel continued. “They actually increased funding by $2 billion. And I applaud them for doing that. Because more than 40% of the people who would have been affected by those cuts to the National Institutes of Health are children. And it would have a major impact on a lot of great places, including Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Which is so unbelievably sad to me.
“We were brought up to believe we live in the greatest country in 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 was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition … and if your parents didn’t have insurance, you night not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition.
“If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it should not matter how much money you make,” Kimmel said as he wept. “I think that’s something, whether you’re Republican or a Democrat … we all agree on that, right? Whatever your party … we need to make sure people who are supposed to represent us, people who are meeting about this right now in Washington, understand that very clearly.
“Let’s stop this 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.
“I saw a lot of families there. And no parent should ever have to decide if can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”
Kimmel will be on paternity leave the rest of the week; friends will guest-host the show including Will Arnett on Tuesday, followed by Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell and David Spade.