When ABC late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel tearfully announced to his audience that his newborn son had open-heart surgery it was sure to generate reaction, but his personal story has taken on a powerful political life.
“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. “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. You were born with a pre-existing condition. And if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of 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?”
That has touched off a storm of debate about the future of health care as the Republican-controlled Congress wrestles with what to do with Obamacare.
Not everyone was supportive of Kimmel’s plea and some right-wing Twitter users attacked his monologue.
Someone wanna tell Jimmy Kimmel that Medicaid has been around long before Obamacare to help low income people with their healthcare?— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 2, 2017
Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn't obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else's health care.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) May 2, 2017
Celebrities and politicians offered up their support to Kimmel’s stance
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 2, 2017
A touching & most powerful monologue from my friend@jimmykimmel &it has a happy ending.I love him & his whole family.https://t.co/T2mEQh14j6
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) May 2, 2017
Through tears, a powerful message. https://t.co/JvlyummT25
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 2, 2017
Other media outlets rushed to provide context to the story: