No American infant has done more than Billy Kimmel to thwart this year's health-care overhaul envisioned by Republicans, and Jimmy Kimmel introduced his son on Monday's Kimmel Live, after taking last week off for Billy's second heart surgery. "Daddy cries on TV but Billy doesn't, it's unbelievable," he said, after tearing up. Billy is doing well, Kimmel added, but the health of about nine million U.S. children is at risk "because of something you probably never heard of, it's called CHIP," or the Children's Health Insurance Program.
The federal program, which insures about one in eight children, had always had strong bipartisan support, Kimmel said. "Overwhelmingly, Democrats and Republicans supported it, until now. Now, CHIP has become a bargaining chip, it's on the back burner while they work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer and diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month. Merry Christmas, right?"
Congress let funding for CHIP expire 10 weeks ago, for the first time since it was created. "Imagine getting that letter, literally not knowing how you'll be able to afford to save your child's life," Kimmel said. "This is not a hypothetical — about 2 million CHIP kids have serious chronic conditions." He said he's disgusted with Washington's priorities, and urged viewers to demand their senator and House representative "take a break from tax cuts for a minute and fully fund CHIP immediately." He provided the number. "If these were potato chips they were taking away from us, we would be marching on Washington with pitchforks and spears right now," Kimmel joked.
Kimmel also reminded everyone that Friday is the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. "ObamaCare is not dead," he said. "It's very much alive," and that includes the subsidized plans and the penalty for not having health insurance. Peter Weber