White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reacted Wednesday to Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night monologue, saying babies in need of care is why the president is “fighting so hard” to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The only problem is that the revised American Health Care Act that Republicans are rushing to vote on still has fundamental problems, and just this week Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) unveiled an amendment to the bill that would gut the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“We’ve got a health care system that’s not doing what it’s supposed to,” Spicer said in response to a question about Kimmel’s comments. “It’s failing. It’s costing too much … and what the president is trying to do by working with these members of Congress is to make sure we have the strongest possible health care system that covers [Americans], that gives them the care that they need, that allows them to go see a doctor, that covers pre-existing conditions and does so in a way that’s not going to be out of range and unaffordable for most Americans.”
On Tuesday night, Kimmel told the story of his son’s birth through tears, recounting how Billy was born April 21 with a heart problem and underwent emergency open-heart surgery. He’ll have to get two more heart surgeries in his life.
Kimmel ended his monologue with a plea to stop President Donald Trump and Congress from defunding the National Institutes of Health and passing health care legislation that would not cover people with pre-existing conditions.
“Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel said. “And if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not even live long [enough] to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition.”
Kimmel’s story went viral, with former President Barack Obama tweeting that situations like the Kimmels’ is why he fought to pass the Affordable Care Act, which includes protections for people with preexisting conditions.