Barack Obama responds to Jimmy Kimmel's tearful monologue about baby's health crisis

Mr Kimmel spoke about his surgery his son Billy had undergone 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Wednesday 03 May 2017 09:35 BST
Jimmy Kimmel tells emotional tale of his son born with heart disease

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Louise Thomas

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Former president Barack Obama has praised television host Jimmy Kimmel’s call to not let the partisan squabbles of politicians deny people access to health insurance.

On his show, Mr Kimmel tearfully told the story of how his son received successful open heart surgery hours after he was born because of a congenital heart disease.

After completing the monologue, Mr Kimmel noted that prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, there was a good chance that people who had a pre-existing condition like his son Billy would have not received health insurance coverage.

“If your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied for having a pre-existing condition,” Mr Kimmel said. “If your baby is going to die and doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something - whether you’re a Republican or Democrat or something else - we all agree on that.”

He added that no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. “It just shouldn’t happen,” Mr Kimmel said. “Not here.”

On Tuesday, Mr Obama congratulated Mr Kimmel on the birth of his new son, and said that such examples was why the legislation was needed. “Well said, Jimmy,” the former president tweeted. “That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.”

US President Donald Trump made repealing and replacing Obamacare one of the major campaign promises before winning office - however he and Republican party leaders have found it difficult to gather enough support from within their own party, let alone the Democrats, to push through a planned replacement measure.

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