After a week of guest hosts including Chris Pratt and Tracee Ellis Ross, Jimmy Kimmel returned to his namesake late night show Monday. Kimmel was joined by his 7-month-old son Billy, who recently underwent another successful heart surgery.
"I was out last week because this guy had heart surgery," Kimmel told his audience in Monday night's opening monologue. "He may have pooped, but he's fine." After thanking last week's guest hosts and the Children's Hospital staff, Kimmel broke down the importance of the currently-under-attack Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
"[CHIP] covers around 9 million American kids whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don't have access to affordable coverage through their jobs, which means it almost certainly covers children you know," Kimmel said. "About one in eight children are covered only by CHIP, and it's not controversial. It's not a partisan thing."
The last time CHIP funding was authorized, both Democrats and Republicans supported the move. Now CHIP is being exploited as part of Republicans' push for tax cuts for the wealthy.
"CHIP has become a bargaining chip," Kimmel explained. "It's on the back burner while they work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer and diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month. Merry Christmas, right? This happened because Congress, about 72 days ago, failed to approve funding for CHIP for the first time since it was created two decades ago. This is literally a life and death program for American kids."
Highlighting the despicable absurdity of Republicans risking the lives of children while they hash out tax cuts for their millionaire and billionaire donors, Kimmel urged viewers to take action to protect CHIP's future. "Imagine getting that letter, literally not knowing how you'll be able to afford to save your child's life," he said. "This is not a hypothetical. About 2 million CHIP kids have serious chronic conditions. I don't know about you, but 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."
To share your thoughts on CHIP's fate, dial up (202) 225-3121 and give Congress a mouthful.