Obama Responds To Jimmy Kimmel Baby Story: 'That's Exactly Why We Fought'

by John Haltiwanger

Jimmy Kimmel told an emotional story about his son, William "Billy" Kimmel, who almost lost his life shortly after he was born on April 21.

In the process, Kimmel gave an impassioned defense of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which prompted former President Barack Obama to respond on Twitter.


Kimmel's son was born with congenital heart disease, which was discovered after a nurse found the baby boy had a heart murmur and was turning purple.

Kimmel told this story during a monologue on his show on Monday night.

Ultimately, Billy required open heart surgery, which thankfully went well. But he'll require more in the future.

The late-night host described his son's surgery as the "longest three hours" of his life, but also expressed how grateful he was it was successful.

In one of the less heavy parts of the speech, Kimmel joked, "Poor kid, not only did he get a bad heart, he got my face."

Kimmel ended his heartfelt monologue, in which he held back tears, with a poignant defense of Obamacare and its preexisting conditions clause, which Republicans are currently debating.

He said,

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. 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 preexisting condition. You were born with a preexisting condition, and if your parents didn't have medical insurance, you might not even live long enough to get denied because of a preexisting condition.

He pleaded with Democrats and Republicans to come together on the issue of healthcare to ensure no parent has to worry about whether they can afford to save their child's life.

"If your baby is going to die, and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," Kimmel said. "I think that's something now -- whether you're a Republican or Democrat, or something else -- we all agree on that, right?"

"We need to take care of each other," Kimmel added. "No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child's life. It just shouldn't happen. Not here."

Kimmel also pointed out President Donald Trump recently called for a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health.

But the late-night host applauded members of Congress for not doing this in a recent budget deal, in which they actually increased its funding by $2 billion.

As a wealthy celebrity, Kimmel is hardly at risk of not being able afford health insurance, or medical care, for himself or his family.

Yet it's clear this experience with his son made it abundantly clear to Kimmel how important it is we create a health system that ensures all Americans have access to affordable insurance and one that provides funding for vital, life-saving programs and research.

That's definitely a message Obama would applaud.