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One Surprising Voice is Changing the Entire Health Care Debate

by Countable | 5.3.17

There is an important voice echoing in lawmakers’ minds this morning, as Republicans scrounge for the votes they need to pass their Obamacare overhaul. The voice is not President Trump’s or House Speaker Paul Ryan’s, it’s not coming from doctors or researchers or health care advocacy organizations.

The voice belongs to Jimmy Kimmel, and it’s changing the political landscape in Washington.

On Monday night, Kimmel opened his late night TV show with this thirteen minute, harrowing story of the discovery of his newborn son’s heart defect and subsequent open-heart surgery. It is the nightmare of any new parent, and such a relief to hear that the baby boy is home and well.

But it’s really the last few minutes of Kimmel’s monologue that are having an enormous impact in Washington: he chided President Trump for proposing billions in cuts to research at the National Institutes of Health, he praised Congress for actually increasing the NIH budget. And then Kimmel made this passionate statement about the millions of people who now have health coverage since the enactment of Obamacare:

"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 or a democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do.

Whatever your party, whatever you believe, whoever you support, we need to make sure that the people who are supposed to represent us, the people who are meeting about this right now in Washington, understand that very clearly. Let’s stop with the nonsense. This isn’t football. There are no teams. We are the team. It’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants."

The video of Kimmel’s story was watched more than seven million times in one day. It is one of those exceedingly rare moments in Washington when a non-partisan, apolitical statement clarifies and unifies Americans engaging in a huge political debate. Kimmel’s words have changed the calculation for Republican lawmakers, as they decide whether to vote for their party’s health care bill. His story has changed the way Democrats approach their fight to maintain research funding and other federal social programs.

In fact, with that one, thirteen minute story, Kimmel may have made a greater impact on the government than any of the many thousands of minutes of political speeches that fill the air in Washington. Kimmel’s is the one echoing through the halls of The Capitol.

-- Andrea Seabrook

Countable

Written by Countable

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(811)
  • Keith
    05/03/2017
    ···

    When someone like Jimmy Kimmel, who most likely can afford healthcare for his newborn son, is pleading with Congress to ensure the affordability of healthcare, that's worth taking note! Stories have come in from around the country that the ACA saves lives. Please stop trying to repeal affordable healthcare for all people. The problem is not the ACA. It's Big Pharma and the insurance companies themselves, who are profiting off the health needs of people who can barely afford to live. The CEO of BCBSNC made millions and millions in bonuses last year, and we want to argue that we can't afford healthcare for all Americans? It seems like congressional republicans want to take healthcare away from all people, because a certain few have abused the right. And yet they'll protect the Second Amendment vehemently, despite the overwhelming evidence that certain people abuse that right. Stand against insurance companies and Big Pharma, not the human right of affordable healthcare.

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  • Kodiwodi
    05/03/2017
    ···

    I completely agree with Jimmy Kimmel. It is the partisanship that is dividing this country especially in the area of healthcare. Healthcare should be a right not a privilege. It should be equally available to everyone, pre-existing conditions or not, elderly or not, poor or not without risk pools or higher rates for the elderly. Do not support any repeal or replacement of the ACA until these issues are addressed properly and AARP approves the bill before passage.

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  • Jacob
    05/03/2017
    ···

    "If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make."

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  • OlderNWiser
    05/03/2017
    ···

    Jimmy Kimmel's acknowledging that every baby who could be saved deserves treatment and his acknowledgement that we are Americans first-- parties, ethnicities, Ideology next speaks the hearts of so many of us eloquently. All Americans and visitors deserve healthcare regardless. We elders on fixed incomes, the poor, the disabled, the addicted--all deserve help. We can and must fund research to save lives, and for that matter, to save the planet. Compassion is not a luxury, but a necessity.

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  • Christina
    05/03/2017
    ···

    To my Representatives in Washington DC: My vote counts and I do VOTE. Do not repeal the ACA amend it, fix what isn't working, but do not destroy it. I stand with Jimmy Kimmel and I don't know a soul that doesn't. I for one personally depend on the ACA and I will die without it. I want you to know I'm watching how you handle this and I have a voice. No Trump Care! Sincerely, Christina M. Elliott-Pipp

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  • Rhonda
    05/03/2017
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    Thank you Jimmy! As a maternity nurse and Women 's health NP, your heart felt words were so moving. And your final statements about access to healthcare for all were spot on!

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  • Helen
    05/03/2017
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    Jimmy Kimmel's child is like lots of other children......born with a pre-existing condition, and is going to have that condition for the rest of his life. Those legislators who insist that poor health is our own fault, and that we alone bear the responsibility to pay the enormous costs of fixing it, are just dead wrong. That's not the America most of us want to live in.

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  • Donna
    05/03/2017
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    VOTE NO ON TRUMPCARE. Let's remember "we are a team". All Americans matter and deserve healthcare. Not the elite, not just the ones with no pre existing conditions because "they have lived good lives" - NO - every single one of us. Single Payer. Let's get the insurance company execs and big Pharma off our backs.

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  • Christina
    05/03/2017
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    I agree with Kimmel 1000% FIX IT WASHINGTON! Amend the ACA DO NOT DISMANTLE IT!!!

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  • Heidi
    05/03/2017
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    I am a 52 year old nurse. I work in the emergency department. I have two rare conditions that affect my heart and nervous system. One is ehlers Danlos. It is genetic. The other is automatic dysfunction. My heart rate varies from the 50s to the 150s without reason. My blood pressure varies from 70/40 to 180/110 without reason. Before the ACA I had to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills. It has taken me seven years to climb out of that. I have worked arduously as a single parent caring for people who may or may not be worse off than I am from a medical standpoint. I still work two days a week because I need health insurance. If you change the pre existing condition clause, I will be not only be unhealthy due to my genetics, I will also be without coverage due to no fault of my own. I simply don't understand why elected officials can not grasp how demeaning and demoralizing this would be. Not to mention careless and uncaring and dangerous and selfish. The general public is losing respect for you faster than you can even begin to imagine. Shame on you if you don't stand up for what is right.

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  • Willie
    05/03/2017
    ···

    Vote against this threatening health care bill. Please, Healthcare should be a right for everyone rich and poor. It should not just be a privilege for the rich! Please, please stand for what's right and decent.

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  • Samantha
    05/03/2017
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    This doesn't matter more because he's famous, but it's a story millions are facing. And I'm glad someone with a public stage as large as Kimmel's is speaking out for all those who the government continues to ignore. Does the ACA need fixing? Yes. But the replacements that congress are offering up are not refining the ACA, they are tearing it down, and replacing it with proposals that don't really address ACA's issues and take away policies in place that are crucial for so many Americans. The newest proposal would allow states to refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions. How does that better serve US Citizens when it will leave so many vulnerable? We need congress to stop "playing politics" and actually work together to find the best solution for the people it is supposed to be representing. Please, I implore my reps to reject this latest, once again rushed version, and to do your job to support and protect the many voices you have promised to speak for.

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  • Lillian
    05/03/2017
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    Kimmel expressed, in his own non-political, even comedic but heartfelt way, the importance and urgency of maintaining universal healthcare. Death can loom at a moments notice, and NO ONE should have to worry about whether they qualify to be saved or not! Especially not in a superpower, wealthy nation such as the United States.

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  • Mary
    05/03/2017
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    I'm just wondering why it took Jimmy Kimmel's monologue to change the political landscape regarding healthcare reform? Is nobody listening to the people of this country who have been voicing their concerns and their outrage this entire time??

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  • Kodiwodi
    05/03/2017
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    Do not support the repeal and replace the ACA bill as it stands now. Risk pools and increased rates for the elderly are unacceptable. Exclusion of pre-existing conditions is is in my opinion morally and ethically wrong and hardens back to the death panels we were so eloquently warned about with the passage of the ACA. Protecting your own healthcare benefits is a nonstarter. As a constituent and as one of the 35 million members of AARP, I ask you not to support repealing and replacing the ACA at this time.

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  • Ken
    05/03/2017
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    This is a very heart felt story both literally and figuratively. Jimmy Kimmel is right. No one should have to hear the words from their doctor or surgeon or insurance company. Sorry you have a prexisting condition. We can't help you or your spouse or your newborn child. If anyone has gone through the agonizing trauma leaving you helpless and hopeless you should scream out in anger to the fact that we as the richest nation in the world can't come up with a health care system that helps everyone.

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  • Brian
    05/03/2017
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    We have to stop making healthcare a political football. Americans deserve high quality healthcare that's affordable and equitable. Other countries have figured it out, why can't we? Wake up!

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  • Laura
    05/03/2017
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    Are you listening? Prior to the ACA, people did lose their homes, went bankrupt and ended up on the street, where, you paid for them barely.

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  • Jill
    05/03/2017
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    NO to latest version of Trump care! Please co-sponsor HR 676, Medicare for all! I have seen many posts on Countable that want universal health care or Medicare for all instead of the latest repeal and replace insanity. It's time to do this. It's time to say NO to insurance companies and big pharma too and NO to Trumpcare. Yes to Medicare for all!

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  • Elizabeth
    05/03/2017
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    Please do NOT support the repeal and replace act. What the ACA needs is to be tweaked to be even better. The insurance companies nor the government should be playing God. Every person is a valuable member of our society and needs to be treated as such. If you are unsure of what needs to be bettered study all the countries that have governmental heath care and see how the US can implement them into our system to make ours even better.

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