Jimmy Kimmel's teary monologue about his newborn son Billy’s emergency heart surgery could be the turning point in the national debate on health care.
Kimmel made a direct appeal to lawmakers to save the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, just as President Trump and Republicans in Congress are once again attempting to round up the votes to repeal and replace it.
“If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make," he said. "I think that’s something that, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?"
He then discussed health care and how Affordable Care Act rollbacks could affect kids like his.
“This isn’t football," he said. "There are no teams. We are the team, it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants."
President Obama weighed in, tweeting: “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.”
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
Stephen Colbert also came to the support of his late night rival Tuesday night, instructing his audience to watch Kimmel’s tearful monologue from Monday.
“Last night was one of the rare times I did not just watch our show. I also watched our dear friend Jimmy Kimmel,” Colbert stated at the top of his show Tuesday.
“I just want to say to anybody out there, that if you haven’t seen Jimmy’s monologue last night — about his child, who was born with a heart defect and they had to have surgery and the first surgery was successful and thankfully his son, Billy is home with him and his wife — please go watch it. It’s an absolutely beautiful, heartfelt story. And it’s a call for all people to have access to the same quality health care, because it is a basic human need, and an aspect of our dignity as citizens of the United States," he continued.
While Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney, were in the recovery room with their newborn, an attentive nurse noticed something very wrong. She checked the baby’s heartbeat and discovered that the little guy had a murmur. He was also turning purple, which are signs of a congenital heart defect.
Kimmel is taking the rest of the week off to be with his family after baby Billy's operation.
Filling in for him Tuesday night was actor Will Arnett, who told the audience: “I'm here because Jimmy is on paternity leave and we're all sending lots of love to his family.”
Arnett also found a way to crack a joke over the serious matter.
"I gotta say I'm not surprised that Jimmy asked me to do this," he said. "When you want someone to fill in for you, but you don't want them to be too good, I'm your guy. He’s not going to hire somebody that could potentially replace him."