After taking a week off for his son’s heart surgery, a tearful Jimmy Kimmel returned to late-night Monday to plead with Congress to fund health insurance for kids from low-income families.
“Daddy cries on TV, but Billy doesn’t, it’s unbelievable,” Kimmel said, holding his son Billy Kimmel to open the show. He launched into an explanation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is designed to cover some 9 million children whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but don’t have access to affordable coverage through their jobs.
CHIP has been held in a political stalemate since September after Congress failed to approve funding for the program for the first time since it was created 20 years ago.
“If these were potato chips they were taking away from us, we’d be marching on Washington with pitchforks and spears right now,” Kimmel said.
He took the first four minutes of his show to encourage viewers to call their senators and representatives to demand they fund the program and stop using kids lives as a “bargaining chip” to pass a tax plan.
“This is literally a life or death program for American kids, it’s always had bipartisan support, but this year they let it expire as they work on getting tax cuts for their millionaire and billionaire donors,” Kimmel said. “I’ve had enough of this. I don’t know what could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to rich people, ahead of the lives of children.”
He also reminded the audience of the Friday deadline to enroll in Obamacare.
Kimmel has become the unlikely late-night advocate for universal health care since his son Billy was born in April with a heart defect, routinely using his platform to call out Republicans in Congress and President Trump for its efforts to weaken and attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Watch his opening monologue below: