One week after his powerful monologue about his newborn son Billy’s emergency heart surgery touched millions, Jimmy Kimmel returned from paternity leave to update Jimmy Kimmel Live viewers on his son’s condition — and of course, to confront critics like the Washington Times, which ran a headline titled “Shut up Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep.”
“One week ago tonight, I made an emotional speech that was seen by millions, and as a result of my powerful words on that night, Republicans in Congress had second thoughts about repeal and replace,” Kimmel joked at the top of the show. “They realized that what is right is right, and I saved health insurance in the United States of America.”
“What’s that? I didn’t save it? They voted against it anyway?” Kimmel said. The House approved the American Health Care Act last week.
He dismissed those who labeled him an elitist — as a youngster, his family bought powdered milk because they couldn’t afford fresh, he said — and pretended to repent for his previous comments.
“I’d like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care. It was insensitive, it was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me,” Kimmel said.
He took on former Rep. Newt Gingrich, saying his claim that all children would receive the same surgery as Kimmel’s son in an emergency fell short of addressing what follows.
“That’s terrific if your baby’s health problems are all solved during that one visit. The only problem is that never, ever happens. We’ve had a dozen doctor’s appointments since our son had surgery,” Kimmel said.
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.
His first guest Monday, speaking to Kimmel via satellite, was Sen. Bill Cassidy from Louisiana – a Republican, who came up with a test for the new health care bill. The retired gastroenterologist’s health care overhaul plan passes the “Kimmel test” in that it would bar the exclusion of people with preexisting conditions, Cassidy says.
In a passionate plea last Monday, Kimmel argued, “If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it should not matter how much money you make. I think that’s something, whether you’re Republican or a Democrat … we all agree on that, right? Whatever your party … we need to make sure people who are supposed to represent us, people who are meeting about this right now in Washington, understand that very clearly.
“Let’s stop this nonsense. 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.”
Watch his opening monologue below.