TAMPA -- “I saw a lot of parents there. No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life, shouldn’t happen, not here,” Jimmy Kimmel told his audience while holding back tears during Monday night’s monolog.
Kimmel gave an emotional plea in support of health care funding after his newborn son was born with a life-threatening heart defect.
“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t’ have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. Republican or Democrat, we all agree on that.”
Billy Kimmel’s surgery is the first of several as he grows up, says Dr. Jeremy Ringewald, a pediatric interventional cardiologist from St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa.
Ringewald says, “These babies wind up with more corrective surgery that’s usually at 6-9 months. At that stage, there’s a hole at the bottom of the chamber of the heart that’s patched closed during open heart surgery. There’s a tube valve between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery.”
Ringewald says the condition is relatively common and babies like Billy will have another surgery when they’re in kindergarten followed by a less invasive procedure as a teenager. But who pays for all this? Kimmel came out in support of the Affordable Care Act.
He said, “Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was there’s a good chance you would never get health insurance because you had a preexisting condition.”
Kimmel applauded congress for voting down President Trump’s proposal to cut six billion dollars from the National Institute of Health.
Kimmel said, “Thank God our congressman made a decision last night to not go along with that and increased funding by 2 billion dollars, I applaud them for that.”
St. Joseph's Hospital says they work with families whose children are un-or-under insured by connecting them with resources to help such as Medicaid and Florida Kid Care.