Late Night talkshow star, Jimmy Kimmel has garned high praise after using his 1 May monologue to tell the story of his newborn son's heart condition and lambast the Republican US government for attempts to change the current healthcare system.
Kimmel announced that his wife Molly McNearney had delivered a baby boy named William 'Billy' Kimmel on Friday, April 21 but that the family's' happiness was short-lived as the newborn was diagnosed with a pre-birth heart condition which needed immediate medical attention.
"My wife was in bed relaxing, a very attentive nurse at Cedars-Sinai heard a murmur in his heart and noticed he was a bit purple, which is not common," the tearful Kimmel recounted. "[The doctors and nurses] determined he wasn't getting enough oxygen in his blood, either in his heart or lungs ... It's a terrifying thing, you know my wife is back in the recovery room, she has no idea what's going on."
The doctors later explained Billy's health condition to the devastated parents by saying that he was born with a congenital heart disease. Three days after his birth, Kimmel's newborn baby underwent a successful open heart surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to treat the "hole in the wall of the left and right side of his heart."
"Poor kid, not only did he get a bad heart, he got my face."
US lawmakers are currently undergoing their second attempt at a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which brought millions of Americans onto health coverage. Even with control of the House of Representatives, Republicans face divides within their own party that are stopping changes taking place.
"We were brought up to believe we live in the greatest country in the world but until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all." Kimmel said.
"Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition, you were born with a pre-exisiting condition and if your parents didn't have medical insurance you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make." Kimmel said, coming closer to tears. "No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child's life."
Kimmel also thanked the medical staff, his friends and even TV enemy Matt Damon for their emotional support during his trying time. "Every one of my friends was there 100%. We had atheists praying for us, okay? We had people who do not believe in God praying to him. And I hate to even say, but even that son-of-bitch Matt Damon sent flowers," he added.