In an effort to remind his millions of viewers that there is "more than the presidency on the line" this election, Jimmy Kimmel shared a video of his son Billy's health battle starting the moment he was born to stress the importance of health care protections for people with preexisting conditions.
After Thursday night's debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the talk show host took a break from his usual Live! With Jimmy Kimmel monologue to share a personal message. Kimmel explained in the segment that his wife, writer Molly McNearny, had created a video montage of their 3-year-old son Billy's health battle and decided to share it in an effort to "focus on something we can't forget: health care."
The father of four pointed out that the "only plan" Republicans have come up with in regard to health care has aimed to "do away with protections for preexisting conditions." Approximately 50 to 129 million Americans live with preexisting conditions, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and if they are not protected, they could lose their health insurance. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, health insurance companies could deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
One such person who could be affected is Kimmel's 3-year-old son Billy who was born with a pre-existing condition. And this short video is a sobering reminder of just how desperately his family relied on health care to get him through the past three years.
The video sees a "brilliant nurse" noticing that something was wrong with Billy within hours of his birth at Cedars-Sinai Hospital before taking him to the NICU. Billy was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (congenital heart disease) and needed to have the "first of three" open heart surgeries at Children's Hospital Los Angeles when he was just three days old. He has since gone to over 60 doctor's appointments to ensure he is healthy.
After sharing a series of photos of Billy in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes, the words "families go broke trying to keep their loved ones alive," flashed across the screen.
Kimmel's fans might remember the talk show host sharing an tearful monologue in May 2017, where he made a plea to protect the Affordable Care Act. "If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make," he said at the time. "I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? … No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here."
Billy Kimmel has come through his surgeries and is now a little boy who likes Spider-Man and dancing with his 6-year-old sister Jane, as the footage reveals. He was able to get healthy because he had access to health care, which has been protected regardless of his preexisting condition. As Election Day draws near, Kimmel is asking people to "vote with your heart."