Odds are you’ve already seen this, but I’m putting it here anyway in case you might not have. It’s from the May 1 broadcast of his late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live in which he described what happened to his son Billy, born April 21 to Kimmel and his wife Molly, their second child.
Kimmel described how within a few hours of Billy’s birth a nurse discovered a heart murmur that led to emergency surgery and his and his wife’s understandable reaction. He thanked the doctors, nurses, and other professionals who saved his son’s life.
He also pointed out that his son now has a pre-existing condition that in the past, prior to Obamacare, would have made insurance for him either impossible to obtain or prohibitively expensive to buy in the individual health insurance market. His son will likely need more treatment, including another surgery in his teens.
Incidentally, the reference to Matt Daman is a joke. He and Kimmel have a pretend-feud going as a sort or running gag.
The last part of his remarks, starting about 10 minutes and 23 seconds in, have attracted, and deserve, particular attention, because it applies to many, many American families:
President Trump last month proposed a $6 billion 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 $2 billion, and I applaud them for doing that, because more than 40 percent of the people who would have been affected by those cuts to the National Institute of Health are children, and it would have had a major impact on a lot of great places, including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which is so unbelievably sad to me.
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. You know before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a preexisting condition. You were born with a preexisting condition, and if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not even live long enough to even get denied because of a preexisting 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 if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?
At least two people from the Trump White House responded. OMB head Mick Mulvaney said, “Everyone, I think, agrees with Jimmy Kimmel that we have enough money in this country to provide care for those type of folks.” Would that this were true! He added, “If we give more control to the states they can figure out a way to best provide for children like Mr. Kimmel’s baby.” But the Supreme Court gave states the option to refuse the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, so in states like mine, some young working families are left unable to afford insurance and unable to get Medicaid, meaning that they can’t afford to pay for such lifesaving surgery. If it happens anyway, the families will likely be forced into bankruptcy and the hospitals and doctors pass on the costs to their other patients. So no, Mulvaney, leaving it up to the states isn’t the answer as we know from direct experience.
A bit later Sean Spicer claimed that Trump was working to protect people with pre-existing conditions. But the bill just passed by the House and celebrated by Trump would in fact allow states to eliminate provisions of the law that currently require insurance companies to cover the care in question and not charge astronomically higher amounts to people with pre-existing conditions.