Jimmy Kimmel ‘apologizes’ for wanting health care for kids

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was back on the air last night, defending last week’s plea for health care coverage, after his newborn son was able to get treatment for a heart problem.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been called an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist,” he said, shortly before describing his youth. “My dream was to become an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist.”

“I would like to apologize for saying children in America should have health care,” he went on. “It was insensitive. It was offensive and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

Kimmel also fired back at Newt Gingrich, who criticized last week’s monologue.

“Gee, I wonder why we’re so angry. Maybe it has something to do with, I don’t know, you?” Kimmel said. “Listen, Newt Gingrich does know a lot about comedy. This is the guy who helped lead the impeachment effort against Bill Clinton for trying to cover his up his affair — while he was having an affair. That’s hilarious. Come on. Whatever you want to say about him. Thank you, Newt. There’s a reason he’s named after a lizard, and that was it.”

Kimmel then interviewed Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who said the bill passed by the House of Representatives last week will raise premiums.

That’s a different story than Minnesota congressman Erik Paulsen tells in today’s Star Tribune op-ed page defense of his vote last week.

It is also important to point out what is not in this bill. Nothing in this bill would allow an insurance company to deny someone coverage, including to those with a preexisting condition. Nothing would allow an insurance company to cancel someone’s insurance policy should they become sick. Despite claims from opponents, the bill does not classify sexual assault as a preexisting condition. For those who maintain continuous coverage, the bill does not allow insurance companies to charge an individual more simply because they have a preexisting condition. It’s also worth noting that this bill includes $138 billion to assist states in making sure everyone, including those with preexisting conditions, has access to high-quality, affordable health care.

The legislation passed last week is certainly not the end of the road but instead a first step toward providing Minnesotans with a health care system that works for them. I will continue to champion other legislative ideas, including my initiatives on chronic care reform, treating and reducing obesity, and ensuring that seniors have access to rehabilitation services, all of which enjoy bipartisan support. At the same time, we must continue to have a thoughtful discussion on solutions that will provide high-quality, affordable health care coverage.

Related: GOP health bill leaves many ‘pre-existing condition’ protections up to states (MPR News)

South Dakota Gov. Daugaard would consider pre-existing condition waiver (Argus Leader)