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Jimmy Kimmel’s Tearful Case for Covering Preexisting Conditions

Talk-show host tells about newborn son’s heart operation

Jimmy Kimmel's Emotional Monologue

Courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live/ABC

With a tear-choked personal story about his infant son born with a heart condition April 21, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel offered the nation a wrenching illustration of what’s at stake in the health care debate. Tiny William Kimmel received the swift medical attention and urgent surgery that saved his life, and he’ll have access to further surgeries he’ll need in the future. He’ll also have a lifetime preexisting condition. See his monologue on ABC here.

Preexisting conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are a key point of contention in congressional and administration wrangling over the American Health Care Act (AHCA), pulled from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in March. The bill has reemerged with a controversial provision that would allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums or deny insurance to those with preexisting conditions, underwriting that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had prohibited.

One of the earliest Affordable Care Act provisions to take effect in 2010 barred insurers from not covering children with preexisting medical conditions. The government estimated at the time that as many as 162,000 children would gain insurance because of this provision, according to Kaiser Health News.

Kimmel concluded with a plea for funding for the National Institutes of Health and for access to health care for all Americans, especially those born with preexisting conditions.

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