Jimmy Kimmel shared an emotional moment with his audience Monday night.
The late-night host spoke for the first time about the health challenges of his son, William, who was born April 21.
Kimmel said William appeared healthy at first, following an uncomplicated birth. However, nurses soon detected that something was wrong with the newborn’s heart.
After consulting with doctors, William was rushed to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where renowned pediatric surgeon Dr. Vaughn Starnes performed a life-saving operation.
“It was the longest three hours of my life,” recounted a tearful Kimmel during his Monday night monologue.
The surgery was a success and Kimmel reported that William is now healthy and happy back at home.
Kimmel said his son will need one more procedure in a few months, followed by a heart valve replacement likely sometime in his teens.
With debate still raging in Washington over efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – commonly known as Obamacare – Kimmel took the opportunity to point out that before the ACA, his son would likely have grown up to be one of millions of Americans unable to obtain health insurance.
“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-existing condition,” he said.
Kimmel added that some kids might not even make it that far.
“If your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition,” he said.
Kimmel closed by calling on people to put aside political differences in the interest of protecting kids.
“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or something else – we all agree on that,” he said.