Jimmy Kimmel makes tearful plea to save CHIP

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Multiple celebrities stepped in to guest host Jimmy Kimmel Live last week while Jimmy Kimmel took off for his son Billy’s second open-heart surgery, but now Kimmel has returned to his show with an important message for his viewers.

Billy made his late-night debut Monday as he joined Kimmel onstage at the top of the show. Billy was calm about the whole thing—he was mostly silent throughout the segment—but Kimmel was on the verge of tears as he thanked everyone who had a hand in making the past week a success. But Kimmel had another reason to talk to his audience about Billy’s healthcare.

Kimmel, as he’s said before, has health insurance that covers his son’s surgeries. For children whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but can’t get affordable coverage, they can be covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Federal funding for CHIP expired in September, and what has normally been a largely a program with bipartisan support is now being used as a bargaining chip by Republicans in Congress.

Kimmel urged his audience to call their members of Congress and ask them to stop focusing on tax cuts and come together to fund CHIP before children lose their access to affordable healthcare for serious and chronic conditions.

“I’ve had enough of this,” Kimmel said. “I don’t know what could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to rich people ahead of the lives of children.”

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