ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel recounted his newborn son’s open heart surgery Monday night and emphasized his belief that quality medical care should be available to everyone in the United States regardless of personal wealth. The late-night host’s tearful monologue ricocheted across the Internet Tuesday as the emotional moment quickly went viral.
Kimmel’s son, William John, was born on April 21, but nurses quickly noticed a heart murmur and low levels of oxygen in his blood. One week later, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, “Billy” was safe at home.
There, Kimmel brought up President Donald Trump’s original budget proposal to strip $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Heath, which has awarded tens of millions of dollars in grants over the years to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Billy got his successful heart surgery. (Under a bipartisan budget agreement, NIH would actually receive a $2 billion funding boost over the next five months.)
“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,” Kimmel said. “You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition; you were born with a 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?”
On Tuesday afternoon, former President Barack Obama re-posted Kimmel’s story on his Twitter account, writing that it was “exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA.”
Well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy. And congratulations! https://t.co/77F8rZrD3P
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 2, 2017
Watch Kimmel’s monologue below:
This post has been updated.