Jimmy Kimmel Claps Back At Health Care Critics Over Son's Heart Surgery

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Jimmy Kimmel has been receiving backlash from politicians and pundits ever since the deeply moving monologue he gave on May 1 about his newborn son's emergency heart surgery that had just happened the week before.

Most of the responses to his monologue have been positive and supporting, but of course, some people don't see his story that way.

The criticism is similar to the criticism Meryl Streep received after her Golden Globes speech, in that the critics are saying this is just another out-of-touch celebrity bringing politics into a place it doesn't belong.

Matt Lewis of CNN and The Daily Beast called Kimmel's monologue "cheap." During an appearance on "AC 360" on May 2, Lewis said,

I completely understand where Jimmy Kimmel is coming from, the passion I think is sincere. I don't think that this is the right move for him to do to politicize this. This is a guy who is incredibly rich. Of course he's not going to have a problem.

I wouldn't necessarily call a father who just had to watch his less-than-a-week-old son go through heart surgery out-of-touch. Having money and fame doesn't leave you less emotionally affected by that kind of trauma.

It does, however, make the medical bills affordable. And I guess that's where his critics are coming from.

But Kimmel is aware of that too... he's aware of his influence and platform. That's why he gave such a transparent monologue in the first place.

And, according to Kimmel, it resulted in a considerable amount of donations to the Children's Hospital in LA where his son had his surgery and even prompted a response from President Obama.


Now, Kimmel himself is responding to the criticism.

On "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Monday night, Kimmel started out his monologue by giving an update on Billy's health. He said, "Our son, Billy, is doing very well. He's getting better, he's sleeping well."

He then went on to clap back at his critics by saying,

I would like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care. It was insensitive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

Classic Kimmel.

He then called out politicians like Newt Gingrich who, in response to his monologue from last week, said on "FOX NEWS Sunday,"

If you show up to a hospital with a brand new baby and the brand new baby has a heart problem, the doctors of that hospital will do anything they can to save the baby. They don't say, 'We'll take care of the baby right after you write a check.' They try to save the baby's life, and that's true across the board in this country.

Kimmel responded,

Yes, it is true that if you have an emergency, they will do an operation, and that's terrific if your baby's health problems are all solved during that one visit. The only problem is, that never ever happens. We've had a dozen doctor appointments since our son had surgery. You got a cardiologist, a pediatrician, surgeon, some kids need an ambulance to transport them, that doesn't even count the parents who have to miss work for all this stuff, those details, Newt forgot to mention.

Kimmel's right. The medical bills don't magically stop once you have the most important surgery done, and the health risks don't magically go away after.

Billy is doing great now, according to Kimmel, but he's going to be going to a lot of doctors appointments for the foreseeable future to make sure he stays that way.

And lucky for Kimmel, that's a luxury his family can afford.

But for a lot of people in America, and for millions more who will be negatively affected if TrumpCare passes in the senate, that is an unaffordable luxury.

And keeping your baby alive shouldn't have to be filed under the category of "luxury."

Citations: Jimmy Kimmel Responds to the Backlash to His Health-Insurance Comments Following His Baby's Heart Surgery (Vulture)