Jimmy Kimmel got real on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, delivering a 13-minute monologue about near-fatal complications in the recent birth of his son — and the essential health services that saved his life.
Jimmy Kimmel Live was off the air last week, and now we know why: Kimmel’s wife, Molly, gave birth to a boy, William a.k.a. Billy, on April 21. But, as the host explained, Billy’s first week was a rough one. After his son was born, a nurse heard a murmur in his heart and noticed he was turning purple. He wasn’t getting enough oxygen to his bloodstream, and Kimmel choked up as he described the doctors and nurses who began pouring in, with more and more equipment, while his wife was in the recovery room with “no idea what’s going on, and I’m standing in the middle of a lot of very worried-looking people, kind of like right now.”
They called a pediatric oncologist who rushed to the hospital and found that Billy was born with a heart disease. He was taken to Children’s Hospital in L.A. where he had successful heart surgery. “It was the longest three hours of my life,” Kimmel admitted, but the baby is now safe at home.
“I’m definitely getting a vasectomy after this,” he joked.
Finally, ten minutes in, Kimmel brought up the elephant in the room. “President Trump last month proposed a six billion dollar 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. They actually increased funding by two billion dollars.” He pointed out that children make up over 40 percent of those who would have been affected by the cuts.
“We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world,” he said, and yet up until a few years ago, when Obamacare was passed, millions of Americans had no access to health insurance. “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.” He continued, “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.”
“This isn’t football. There are no teams,” he said, pleading with his audience not to let “partisan squabbles” divide the country. “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life,” he said through tears. “It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”