With just over a week until Election Day, Jimmy Kimmel is not holding back in his political messaging, and this time, he’s using two powerful weapons in his argument against Republicans and their (lack of) health-care plan: His wife Molly McNearney and their 3-year-old son Billy, who was born with a heart condition. Together, they have torn our hearts out of our bodies and stomped on them furiously with a video Kimmel aired on his show Thursday night.
“The vast majority of this country believes that health insurance should cover Americans with preexisting conditions, but the Republican Party, and that includes the president and members of congress, the only plan they have is to do away with protections of preexisting conditions,” Kimmel said before introducing the video McNearney, his show’s head writer, created.
The video uses home videos and photos of Billy as it starts off telling the story of how a nurse discovered his heart condition a few hours after he was born. Ben Folds’ song “The Luckiest,” paired with Billy’s adorable face and his tiny body covered in tubes and then scars — it’s a lot to take. And it’s so necessary.
“This is what it looks like to have a pre-existing condition,” reads the text on the screen, accompanying more photos before and after Billy’s three heart surgeries. “Families go broke trying to keep their loved ones alive. People die because they cannot afford to live. Under the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.”
The text warns, “Right now, our president is in court suing to remove protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.” A jarring clip of Trump making an empty promise to do the opposite plays. The president has never rolled out a health-care plan or even attempted to explain how pre-existing conditions would be protected if he successfully guts the ACA. That may happen as soon as this fall if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The video then lists Republican senators who have voted to end the protections: Ben Sasse, Bill Cassidy, Cory Gardner, Dan Sullivan, David Purdue, James Inhofe, James Risch, John Cornyn, Joni Ernst, Lindsay Graham, Martha McSally, Mike Rounds, Mitch McConnell, Shelley Moore Capito, Steve Daines, Thom Tillis, and Tom Cotton.
“Moms don’t forget. Please vote,” McNearny urges, before finally shifting moods to show happy videos of Billy dancing and playing with big sister Jane.
As Kimmel has said on his show many times, the point isn’t to help Billy, who is well cared for by his wealthy parents. The point is the other millions of Americans who won’t be able to afford the kind of hospital bills people with pre-existing conditions used to face before the ACA let them get coverage. It is far from a perfect system, but it needs to be fixed the right way.
“This is not a partisan issue,” Kimmel said on Thursday. “Four out of five Americans want this, Democrats and Republicans. … But the vast majority of Republicans in office don’t. They say they do; they tell you they do, but their actions say the opposite.”
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