Obama: Kimmel’s harrowing story is why ‘we need to protect’ health care

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  • Jimmy Kimmel
    Jimmy Kimmel
    American talk show host and comedian
  • Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    44th president of the United States

Former President Barack Obama tweeted his support for Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday after the comedian revealed his newborn son’s health complications.

“Well said, Jimmy,” Obama tweeted. “That’s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy. And congratulations!”

In an emotional, 13-minute monologue on Monday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the late night host explained that his son William required heart surgery on April 24, just three days after his birth.

Kimmel and his wife, Molly McNearney, were resting at the hospital when a nurse noticed the baby looked “a bit purple.”

“The room started to fill up. More doctors, nurses, and equipment started coming in, and they determined that he wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his blood,” Kimmel recalled. “It’s a terrifying thing.”

Tests revealed the child, the couple’s second, was born with a heart defect that required emergency surgery. Doctors at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles were able to open a valve and the operation was a success, Kimmel said.

“It was the longest three hours of my life,” Kimmel, 49, said, adding that Billy will require a second open-heart procedure within the next three to six months.

While his story “has a happy ending,” Kimmel made a passionate plea to lawmakers to ensure all Americans have access to health care.

“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” he said. “I hope you never have to go there but if you do, you’ll see so many kids from so many financial backgrounds being cared for so well with so much compassion.”

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