Obama Responds To Kimmel's Moving Monologue About His Newborn Son's Pre-Existing Condition

It's a glimpse at one of America's most important issues: health care.

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel could hardly hold back his tears. He was visibly choked up as he shared the story of his newborn son, who was born with a life-threatening heart condition and was only kept alive by an amazing team of doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. After video of Kimmel's tearful opening monologue went viral, the host got a shoutout from a prominent health care advocate: former president Barack Obama.

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"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? … This isn't football. There are no teams. We are the team—it's the United States. Don't let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants."

Kimmel's monologue, and Obama's subsequent support, come as the house is debating whether to pass the controversial American Health Care Act, known in some circles as Trumpcare. The bill, which would amount to a partial repeal of Obama's Affordable Care Act, will leave an estimated 24 million people without insurance and, according to experts, may skyrocket premiums for those with pre-existing conditions. It is opposed by both the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

One reason Obama's tweet is so relevant is because he helped push protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act, something at risk under the new AHCA bill. Despite President Trump's repeated promises to protect those with pre-existing conditions, experts are nearly unanimous the bill does no such thing.

Andy Slavitt, who worked on Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA for President Obama, put it like this: "There's one sentence every American needs to know: Trumpcare eliminates pre-existing condition protections," he wrote on Twitter. And by all accounts, it appears he's correct. An amendment added to the bill by New Jersey Congressman Tom MacArthur and North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows allows states to "waive both the ACA's standards for what health benefits insurance plans must offer and its prohibition on charging people more based on their medical history," according to The Center on Budget Policies and Priorities.  

The House is expected to vote on the AHCA today, despite not yet having a Congressional Budget Office score and with very few Americans having actually seen the bill. 

For now, we can only encourage Americans like Kimmel and Obama to continue to urge the rest of us to think critically about our health care system. Fortunately, it appears they're already on the way.

Cover image via White House, Shutterstock / Evan El-Amin

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