LOS ANGELES (CNN/CBS) — Jimmy Kimmel used his monologue Monday night to get both personal and political.
The late night host got emotional as he revealed that his son William John Kimmel was born on April 21 with a serious heart issue. Those emotions then spilled into thoughts he offered about the importance of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and his feelings on health care policy.
During the 13-minute long monologue, Kimmel said his wife, Molly McNearney, had an easy delivery with their second child, whom they call “Billy.”
“Six pushes, he was out,” Kimmel said. “He appeared to be a healthy normal baby until about three hours after he was born.”
Kimmel said his family was there in recovery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital as little Billy met his two-year-old sister, Jane.
Then “a very attentive nurse” discovered the baby had a heart murmur and appeared to be a bit purple in color.
Tests showed the baby wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his blood. An X-ray ruled out an issue with Billy’s lungs, which meant there was a problem with the newborn’s heart, Kimmel said.
Immediately the room was flooded with doctors and machines, he recalled.
“It’s a terrifying thing,” Kimmel said, his voice breaking. “You know, my wife is back in the recovery room, she has no idea what’s going on and I’m standing in the middle of a lot of worried looking people — kind of like right now — who were trying to figure out what the problem is.”
Kimmel said a sonogram of the heart revealed the baby had been born with a heart condition in which a pulmonary valve was completely blocked and there was a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart.
Three days later, Billy underwent open-heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“It was the longest three hours of my life,” Kimmel said.
The proud dad then showed a photo of his son hooked up to monitors and IVs after the procedure, and a picture of his son smiling a few days later.
Kimmel joked, “Poor kid. Not only did he get a bad heart, he got my face.”
Billy will have to undergo future surgeries, but is doing well, according to Kimmel, who thanked a list of people, including medical professionals, his staff, friends and family.
He also tweeted his thanks to well-wishers and those who donated to the hospital that treated Billy.
Kimmel also brought up President Donald Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut to budget for the National Institutes of Health, and praised Congress for deciding “to not go along with that.”
“They actually increased funding by $2 billion and I applaud them for doing that,” Kimmel said.
Such cuts would have adversely affected children, he said.
Kimmel also praised Obamacare and noted that, prior to it, those born with congenital heart issues like his son could be turned down for health insurance because they were deemed as having a pre-existing condition.
Obama praised Kimmel on Twitter for his speech. The former president’s tweet came as Republican leaders continue to try and push an Obamacare repeal and replace bill through the House.
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
He urged Americans to come together and hold elected officials accountable for their decisions on health care, which he said is not a partisan issue.
“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?”
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