WASHINGTON — Some conservatives are criticizing late night host Jimmy Kimmel for calling for greater health care coverage in light of his newborn son’s health problems.
In an emotional monologue Monday, Kimmel opened up about his son’s battle with a heart defect. He defended the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and encouraged viewers to put aside their political differences to hold politicians accountable for health care issues. The remarks garnered widespread sympathy and praise from Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who cited Kimmel’s comments to draw attention to the health care debate on Capitol Hill.
But some conservatives believe Kimmel misconstrued the broader debate over health care.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney called Kimmel’s clip Wednesday “very emotional” before sharing his own story about his 17-year-old triplets being born with health issues.
“I have seen the agility of having a premature baby or sick baby,” he told Fox News before adding, “Everybody, I think, agrees with Jimmy Kimmel. We have enough money in this country to provide care for those types of folks.”
But Mulvaney pushed back on the idea that Republicans, who are currently trying to pass legislation to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, want to block people with pre-existing conditions from receiving health coverage.
“That’s not the point,” he said. “The point behind the state waiver program is the state governments know how to treat children like the Kimmel baby better than the federal government does.”
“If we give more control to the states, they can figure out a way to best provide for children like Mr. Kimmel’s baby,” Mulvaney added.
Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, however, tweeted that Kimmel’s “sad story” did not “obligate” Americans to support the Affordable Care Act.
“Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care,” the nationally syndicated radio host tweeted Tuesday. “Got no problem with @jimmykimmel tearing up & getting political. Got a big problem with: ‘We need gov-run healthcare cuz of my sad story.'”
Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt accused Kimmel of making a personal story partisan.
“After his slobbering wet kiss to federal bureaucracy, Mr. Kimmel then went squealing on about Obamacare and how insurance companies, the government and your neighbors should all be forced to pay for everybody else’s health care,” the conservative wrote. “Easy thing to say for a gazillionaire from Hollywood.”
“I mean, really, Jimmy, does your newborn child not mean more to you than petty politics? How do you look at the miracle of your child and think — partisan politics?” Hurt added.
Townhall columnist Michelle Malkin said Kimmel’s emotional plea was factually incorrect.
“Kimmel implies that opposition to Obamacare-style insurance mandates is both un-American and indecent,” the conservative author wrote. “Had he been less hysterical, he would have acknowledged that different health care systems have pros and cons — and decent Americans can have legitimate differences of opinion on such matters.”
“In the land of make-believe, it would be wonderful if everyone had free access to the same high-quality care Kimmel and his family did at Cedars-Sinai and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” she added. “In the real world, Obamacare plans have severely curtailed the number of doctors and hospitals that customers can use.”
Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis said Kimmel’s monologue was “a little cheap.”
“I completely understand where Jimmy Kimmel is coming from,” he said Tuesday on “Anderson Cooper 360.” “The passion, I think, is sincere. I don’t think that this is the right move for him to do to politicize this.”