Jimmy Kimmel delivered an uncharacteristically serious and emotional monologue at the top of his late-night talk show Monday night, sharing harrowing details about the birth of his new son.
“I have a story to tell about something that happened to our family last week,” Kimmel said through tears, “and before I go into it, I want you to know it has a happy ending.”
Kimmel’s son Billy was born on April 21, and seemed perfectly healthy at first. But a few hours after the delivery, a nurse noticed Billy had a heart murmur, and his coloring was “a bit purple.” After more nurses and doctors examined Billy, it was determined he suffered from heart disease that was depriving him of oxygen.
Kimmel and his family moved Billy quickly from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to Children's Hospital Los Angeles where cardiac experts performed the first of at least two open-heart surgeries Billy will need.
“He’ll have to have another open-heart surgery in three to six months,” Kimmel said, “and then he’ll have a third, hopefully non-invasive procedure sometime maybe in his early teens.”
Kimmel shared photos of a smiling Billy to show that the baby is healthy and happy following his successful surgery. Then, after thanking all the nurses and doctors who cared for Billy and saved his life, Kimmel segued into a larger point about health care.
“President Trump last month proposed a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institutes of Health,” Kimmel said, “and thank God our congressmen made a deal … to not go along with that. They actually increased funding by $2 billion, and I applaud them for doing that.”
Referring to the Affordable Care Act, Kimmel added, "Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition.”
Kimmel continued, “If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?”
“We need to take care of each other,” Kimmel said through more tears, his voice breaking, “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child's life."