Late night television host Jimmy Kimmel returned to the airways on Monday night, following an absence last week. He was with his infant son, who was recovering from yet another heart surgery (and has many more surgeries to go). You may remember this situation, because many months ago, when our government was rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have left millions uninsured, especially those with pre-existing conditions, which now Kimmel’s son’s situation would be in that grouping.
Kimmel had challenged Senator Bill Cassidy, and originally Cassidy seemed to have genuine concern and care for the millions of us in the pre-existing category. Cassidy stated that any effort to repeal and replace the ACA, had to pass “the Kimmel test”, which Cassidy nicknamed after watching Kimmel’s television show when the host told the story about his son. But after Cassidy wrote the bill, along with Senator Lindsey Graham, nothing even remotely represented what Cassidy claimed his fight would accomplish. In fact, quite the opposite. And Kimmel called him out for it. Long story short, the repeal and replace bill failed, repeatedly.
But on Monday night, Kimmel again brought health care to the spotlight. Again, Kimmel does not necessarily have a dog in this fight, because he can afford to care for his son. The fact is, there are millions who cannot, 9 million in fact. And for this, decades ago, through two other presidential administrations, a program called CHIP – Childrens Health Insurance Program – was created to make sure that children whose families who made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but could not afford health insurance, would be covered. This program was supported by both Republicans and Democrats. The program is especially vital to children battling such serious illnesses as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
What caught the ire of Kimmel, our current government allowed the program to expire. Every time the program came up for renewal, it was done. Except this time. Now, as both sides jockey for position whether it be for health care, or tax reform, and neither side is doing anything to restore this funding. Individual states are doing what they can, but even they are now running out of funds to keep this running. Simply put, our government is putting the health care of our children in a hostage situation.
Kimmel’s point was clear. He urged the millions who watch his show to make phone calls to our representatives to get them to renew CHIP NOW!!
Of course, there will be those who protest that Kimmel is out of line, or just trying to capitalize on his celebrity status as a liberal. What these people who protest this are really upset about is that Kimmel has a venue to air this embarrassment of our government.
Seriously, my blog only reaches so many people. But Kimmel reaches millions. We both have small children. We are parents just like millions across the country. And we know how other people struggle to take care of their children. So yes, Kimmel does have a platform, and I hope he continues to use it.
And as a heart patient myself, I have such empathy for Kimmel’s son. I at least knew what was happening to me and being done to me. He has a great smile, but I am sure he had to be scared.