AN EMOTIONAL Jimmy Kimmel has returned to his late-night TV show where he made a plea on TV as he held his son in his arms.
Kimmel started crying at the start of his opening monologue, which he devoted to calling on US Congress to restore “a life and death program” known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host held his eight-month-old son Billy as he spoke, who has just had his second open heart surgery after being born with a heart defect in April.
After Kimmel began to shed tears and choke up, he broke the tension by saying “Daddy cries on TV but Billy doesn’t”, which sparked a round of supportive applause from his live audience.
The popular Oscars host wants US Congress to restore CHIP, which has been unfunded since September after it failed to approve funding for it. .
He accused politicians of putting a tax cut for the rich above a children’s health insurance program.
Kimmel said the program had covered nine million children and was in place for several decades.
He said it was on the “backburner while they (politicians) work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer, diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month”.
“Imagine getting that letter,” Kimmel said, “literally not knowing how you will afford to save your child’s life.”
“I don’t know about you, I’ve had enough of this. 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,” he said.
He said it was “disgusting” that politicians had prioritised “getting tax cuts for their billionaire and millionaire donors”.
Kimmel then encouraged everyone to call the House and Senate to tell them to “take a break from tax cuts and fully fund CHIP now”.
He also warned those who don’t have health insurance to make sure they go to healthcare.gov and sign up before the December 15 deadline, or face a penalty of at least $US695 ($A919) next year.
Kimmel broke down on his talk show as he recalled the “terrifying” experience of seeing his three-day-old son undergo open heart surgery in May.
He recalled how his wife, Molly McNearney, gave birth to their second child, William “Billy” Kimmel, who underwent open heart surgery three days after he was born.
“He was an easy delivery — six pushes he was out. And he appeared to be a normal, healthy baby until about three hours after he was born,” Kimmel said.
Kimmel said the family were moved out of the delivery and into a recovery room when a nurse noticed “a murmur in his heart — which is common with newborn babies — but she also noticed he was a bit purple”.
Kimmel and his son were moved to another room.
“Now all of a sudden it felt serious,” he said.
“The room started to fill up — more doctors and nurses and equipment started coming in. And they determined he wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his blood which, from what I understood at the time, was most likely one of two things: either his heart or his lungs.”
Billy had a “hole in the wall of the left and right side of his heart”.
“So more doctors and nurses and equipment comes in and it’s a terrifying thing,” Kimmel said, breaking down.