The GOP's Affordable Health Care Act isn't officially dead yet, but it seems to be ailing badly, with center-right House Republicans spooked by an amendment that would give states a route to gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions. House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted Tuesday that the bill wouldn't do that, but he was publicly contradicted by several House Republicans. One Obama White House alumnus had a theory about the AHCA losing altitude on Tuesday, telling Mike Allen at Axios Tuesday night that, in Allen's words, "Jimmy Kimmel killed the Republicans' already shaky efforts to revive the House's health-care reform."
On Monday night, an emotionally raw, sometimes crying Kimmel told his audience about the birth last week of his son, who has a congenital heart defect, and how nurses and doctors caught it and saved the boy's life. He ended his story with a nonpartisan plea to protect people with pre-existing conditions. So far, more than 7 million people have watched the video on YouTube, and the video was mentioned on the House floor and tweeted by former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, among others, and also by former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who told Kimmel that "your sad story doesn't obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else's health care."
Allen wanted to know just how "viral" that Kimmel clip was, so he asked reporter Sara Fischer, who covers media trends. The answer: Very. On Facebook, for example, "Kimmel's monologue clip received over 14 million views and 230,000 reactions in less than 24 hours," Axios reports. "His posts typically don't receive more than 1 million views."
Sometimes a viral video can change a debate, or at least galvanize one side — John Oliver's symposium on net neutrality comes to mind. But as the Oliver example shows, such successes can be fleeting. So if House Republicans don't partially repeal ObamaCare this week, they might still get another shot — even if the national debate about pre-existing conditions has inexorably changed.