Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! returned to the late-night scene accompanied by his son Billy and a very special request. This was not, however, your typical comeback monologue.
"We want to thank the very bright and talented doctors and nurses at Children's Hospital who treated Billy and many kids with so much care and compassion—children from every income level whose health is especially threatened right now because of something you probably never heard of," he shared with the audience while holding back tears. "It's called CHIP [Children's Health Insurance Program]."
Kimmel adds, "Parents of children with cancer, diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month. Merry Christmas, right? This is literally a life and death program for American kids. It's always had bipartisan support, but this year, they let the money for it expire while they work on getting tax cuts for their millionaire and billionaire donors."
Billy has a rare heart condition, called tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, and had his first open heart surgery days after he was born, which Kimmel spoke openly about earlier this year. It was back in May that he stepped into the healthcare battle with his emotional plea for reform saying, "No parent should ever have to decide whether they can afford to save their child's life."
This time, with Billy in his arms, the host urged viewers to call Congress phone lines [202-225-3121] immediately and demand CHIP funding before time runs out.
"Imagine getting that letter, not knowing to you'll be able to afford to save your children's life," he elaborates. "This is not a hypothetical; about 2 million CHIP kids have serious chronic conditions. I don't know about you but I've had enough of this. I don't know what could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to the rich ahead of the lives of children."
The TV host's statements have caught attention far and wide, and even reached the very politicians entrusted with keeping the legislation active.
It’s been 73 days since Republicans in Washington let the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire. The millions of families who depend on it will start to see coverage lapse soon.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 12, 2017
I was proud to support bipartisan legislation in the Senate Finance Cmte to extend #CHIP funding so that children & families who rely on this program are not left behind. Full Senate must pass this bill. #ExtendCHIP
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) December 11, 2017
The proud dad just wants to give his son a fighting chance, so every chance he gets, he advocates for CHIP. Kimmel also applauded the amazing work the team at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles is doing.
Thank you, @jimmykimmel, for showing incredible strength during such an emotional time. We hope your recent monologue will encourage others to contact House and Senate lawmakers to advocate for the funding of the CHIP Program, which is vital to millions of children nationwide. https://t.co/vWc8macKWs
— Children's Hosp LA (@ChildrensLA) December 12, 2017
As for baby Billy, Kimmel informs the viewers that he has one surgery left to go and is doing well.