Jimmy Kimmel isn’t done talking about health care.
The host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” made headlines last week for his emotional story about his baby son having open heart surgery. On April 21, his wife gave birth to Billy Kimmel, and three hours later a nurse discovered a problem with his heart. The newborn will have to have another open heart surgery, plus a non-invasive procedure in his teens, but Kimmel said he is now doing well. He called the experience “terrifying.”
Kimmel then pointed out that without Obamacare, his son might never be able to get health insurance because of his 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,” Kimmel said. “I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?”
While everyone can likely agree on that basic premise, it turns out a lot of conservatives took issue with Kimmel’s remarks. Some critical headlines that Kimmel pointed out on his show read, “Jimmy Kimmel’s obscene lies about kids and medical care” and “Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep.”
Kimmel delivered a highly sarcastic apology to those critics on Monday night.
“I’d like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care,” he said. “It was insensitive. It was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
He specifically called out former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who said on Fox News Sunday that Kimmel’s characterization of health care in the United States was wrong, and doctors would do everything they could to save the baby regardless of how much money the family had.
“Yes, it is true that if you have an emergency they will do an operation, and that’s terrific if your baby’s health problems are all solved during that one visit. The only problem is that never, ever happens,” Kimmel said. “We’ve had a dozen doctor appointments since our son had surgery. You’ve got a cardiologist, a pediatrician, surgeons, some kids need an ambulance to transport them, that doesn’t even count the parents who have to miss work for all this stuff. Those details, Newt forgot to mention.”
Kimmel also highlighted a highly criticized comment made by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, last week at a town hall. Labrador said no one has died because they don’t have access to health care, prompting boos from the crowd. After the clip played on his show, Kimmel said, “that’s not a garbage man, that’s a Congressman we have.”
Labrador has since tried to further explain the statement, saying while it “wasn’t very elegant,” he was trying to explain that all hospitals are required to provide emergency treatment.
House Republicans narrowly passed their replacement for Obamacare on Thursday, which no longer mandates that health providers offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. The bill set up an $8 billion fund for those high-risk pools, an amount some have criticized as inadequate.