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)

  • Mike

    The insult to a certain class of amphibians (not reptiles) by comparing them to Newt Gingrich is unconscionable. They are a far higher form of life than the former Speaker.

    • BJ

      I have a photo with me and Newt somewhere. Has the charisma of a reptile.

      • Mike

        Surprising. I thought he was the sort of creature whose reflection would not appear in a mirror or whose image could not be captured by a camera.

    • Rob

      Yes! Tail regeneration is a very cool ability.

  • Gary F

    Haven’t watched or cared what Kimmel had to say since his Man Show days on Comedy Central. I have no desire to watch Kimmel, Conan, Corden, Colbert, Fallon , Bee, or any of them. I can watch a highlight the next day if there is a musical guest that I may have missed.

  • Michelle

    The key phrase in Representative Paulsen’s letter is “For those who maintain continuous coverage”. I am a CFO for a small company in town. If you leave our company COBRA single coverage will cost you between $480 to $570 a month. This is what that coverage costs our company. Family coverage would be over $1,600 per month. These rates are comparable to other companies our size. So if a blue collar worker making $17-$20 gets laid off, how are they going to maintain “continuous coverage” and still pay rent and buy food? Unemployment isn’t going to cover all of that. If you drop coverage, the insurance company can now charge you whatever they want. The issue continues to be health care costs. The bill passed does nothing to change that trajectory. Medication is the largest driver of our company’s cost and again no change in this area. Driving people back to emergency room based health care –often unreimbursed to the hospital–does nothing but drive everyone’s costs up. Very disappointing.

    • Exactly.

      So many people don’t actually LOOK at how much their employer-based heath care actually costs (both the employer AND employee portion), It’s usually quite a lot more than the Universal HC costs in other countries (double that cost or more?).

    • Ben Chorn

      To add some numbers-

      I was making around $100,000/year when I got laid off and ended up getting around $550/week on unemployment (which would have run out after 6 months). To pay for my car payment, food, rent, etc. I decided to not have health insurance. I was fortunate in that my unemployment was figured as a percent of my salary (which ended up being more than the maximum in the state I was living in). I could still make ends meet, but cutting out healthcare meant I didn’t have to worry about rent, utilities, car payment, etc. I was also fortunate enough to find a job before my unemployment ran out. I think COBRA was around a week’s pay of unemployment (similar to the numbers you provided).

      Even now with a job I have a hard time paying for healthcare. My deductible is so high I’ve made choices not to go to a doctor. While I know someone will treat me if I go to a doctor, I don’t know how I would pay for it.

      • Ben

        This is so true. Health insurance through your employer just isn’t affordable. It may be available to you, but it is not affordable. I think we are going to approach or are already at the point where most people just won’t be able to pay the medical bills they rack up. Unpaid medical bills have an effect on your credit, but not the same as an unpaid loan for instance. I think more people will realize this and just let the medical bills go.

  • chris

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Paulsen blatantly lying? Doesn’t the bill allow states to get waivers that would allow them to go back to pre-ACA lay of the land where if you changed jobs you could be denied coverage at the new job for a pre-existing condition? So when he says “nothing in the bill….” isn’t that a blatant lie?

    Newt is the guy who really brought about the very uncivil times we have now, for what it’s worth.

    • MikeB

      We are going to see in real time if blatant lying pays off. Not optimistic.

    • jon

      We had a software product at work that got bought up by a company who really had no interest in supporting it… we had a contract that required they provide us a quote for enhancement work etc.

      When they opted to stop supporting it they continued to provide us with quotes for work on the product, the process they used appeared to be one where they’d take a quote from the olden times, and add 0 zeros to the end of it… $1,000 worth of work became $1,00,000
      A $10,000 estimate became $10,000,000 and so on.

      They still offered support, we weren’t denied what was contractually obligated… but they made it clear they had no desire to actually do any of the work and if we wanted it we were going to make it worth their while.

      That’s what the AHCA allows for.

    • Will

      Remember when Obama lied about Obamacare? I just saw a 19% increase in premiums this year from my employer provided plan, Obamacare did nothing to control costs and has made things worse… Paulsen’s plan introduces market forces which will by definition control costs. Let’s pass it and see where we’re at in 7-8 years like we did with Obamacare.

      • >>Obamacare did nothing to control costs and has made things worse<<

        Or you can put the blame on those premium hikes where it's justified – with your insurance provider.

        Those premiums were going to go up whether the ACA was in place or not…


      • BJ

        >Paulsen’s plan introduces market forces which will by definition control costs.

        Name them please.

        • Will

          Tax credits instead of free coverage or massive subsidies, people will make economic choices and not go to the doctor over a little headache or a runny nose. You realize for many people the only cost they see right now are $3 co-pays while many of us are paying $15k-$30k in premiums and still see $2k+ deductibles. It’s no wonder that people paying only $3 co-pays are using a disproportionate amount of health care.

          • >>You realize for many people the only cost they see right now are $3 co-pays<<

            Citation please.

            /The people paying the least have very little income (students, working poor), but you knew that already.

          • Will

            My doctor friend who deals with people on that insurance daily.

          • Cool story, Bro.

            Do you actually have some data to back up your claim that “many people the only cost they see right now are $3 co-pays” besides what your doctor friend says?

            My son is a doctor and he says otherwise. See how that pesky “personal anecdote is my proof” thing works?

          • Will

            Your son probably doesn’t​ see many rural patients…my friend lives in a rural area and he sees it daily, he even reiterated it on Friday when we took the boat out on the lake.

          • You don’t quite understand the whole “personal anecdotes don’t equal actual data” thing, do you?

            /My son practices in rural Washington state, but that doesn’t matter at all.

          • BJ

            So you have to spend money to save money? Person making say $25K per year could never get enough tax credit to cover a short hospital stay.

          • BJ

            >economic choices and not go to the doctor over a little headache or a runny nose.

            Oh for the love of Pete. If someone is on a subsidies they probably can’t afford to take the time off work to go to Doctor for every little thing, but if there kids get sick they MIGHT be able to take them now. Instead of waiting til the kids cough become pneumonia.

          • jon

            It’s almost like we can save money by having people get treated for things early.

            Like a bottle of antibiotics is cheaper than a 7 day stay in the hospital because the infection was allowed to a point where it needed surgical intervention or longer term treatment…

            Of course that is nonsense.
            If you can’t afford the cheap health care, then you should be required to go to the ER, and run up a big bill you can’t possibly pay there… and then the ER can bill ???? to pay for it instead.

            Because as a country we decided everyone should have access to an ER, and those unpaid ER bills that cost us more are covered by …….. some one else, so not free stuff like that bottle of antibiotics would have been… cause ???? is paying for it instead.

            It’s all pretty obvious, this healthcare stuff is so not complicated!

          • // and not go to the doctor over a little headache or a runny nose

            Symptoms of measles:

            high fever,
            runny nose (coryza), and
            red, watery eye

          • Will

            Yep, that’s why we have a vaccine for that one. MMR, everyone should get it… ASAP.

          • >>Yep, that’s why we have a vaccine for that one. MMR, everyone should get it… ASAP.<<

            Dude, just take a few seconds, read the CONTEXT of WHY Bob posted the measles symptoms, and think before you post.

            You might not look like such a fool.

          • Rob

            I just assumed you were an anti-vaxxer. My bad.

          • seedhub

            Tax credits are not a “market force.”

          • Will

            If they act as a substitute for free coverage then they will act more like a market force than “free” coverage would.

          • seedhub

            How so?

          • Will

            In one case people are granted coverage and costs are hidden from them while a tax credit means a person can go to the market and buy whatever they want outside a government created website. Market forces will be felt more directly with tax credits…

          • seedhub

            I don’t think subsidies and tax credits are as different as you think they are. Subsidies are tax credits. Under the ACA currently, you can have them applied directly to your monthly premiums, or you can use them to reduce your taxable income when you pay your taxes. Neither is more transparent than the other.

            Not to mention that under the ACA, anyone can “go to the market and buy whatever they want outside a government-created website.” There’s no requirement that consumers buy through the exchanges, and there are plenty of reasons not to — which is why something like10 million people don’t.

          • Will

            If you want the subsidies you HAVE to buy through an exchange. Also, the tax credits will be less than the Obamacare subsidies allowing people to be more conscious of market forces.

          • seedhub

            I guess I’m not as enthusiastic about your “decrease healthcare costs by making it so expensive that people will stop using it” proposal.

      • chris

        Ha! If “market forces” were the answer, they had a long time to work before the ACA.

        • Will

          What market forces were used in Obamacare to lower prices?

          • BJ

            Larger pools of health people.

          • Will

            It didn’t work…

          • >>It didn’t work…<<

            It wasn't allowed to work.

          • jon

            first off… there were no Obamacare provisions in effect prior to Obamacare (the ACA) going into effect… So the question is largely irrelevant with regards to the statement Chris made.

            Secondly the largest market force was the individual mandate, if every one has to pay in even when they are healthy then insurance gets to work the way insurance is supposed to (which paul ryan aptly described as healthy people paying for sick people who need coverage.)

      • // here we’re at in 7-8 years like we did with Obamacare.

        The main provisions of Obamacare went into effect in 2014. The Cadillac Tax was never allowed to go into effect. The politicians who get $ from the medical device industry kept that from taking effect. The employer mandate was delayed, delayed again, and delayed again and didn’t go into effect until one year ago. In Minnesota, the reinsurance provision was only passed about six weeks ago.

        No technical bill was ever passed after the original bill passed in Congress.

        People put a lot of work into making sure ObamaCare failed, so it’s disingenuous for any of them now to say “hey, we gave it a shot and look what happened.”

        What happened is exactly what was supposed to happen.

        The Senate has already pretty much said the House version is dead. The Senate is controlled by Republicans.

        • Will

          There was bipartisan agreement on delaying the Cadillac tax… did everyone notice that rates began to skyrocket around 2014?

          • BJ

            So? to quote you “7-8 years like we did with Obamacare”

          • I’m not arguing the partisan/bipartisan nature of things. I’m just pointing out your suggestion that the AHCA got 6 or 7 years to try it out is patently false.

          • Will

            Well even the AHCA will gradually be ramped in… that’s​ how big changes happen, it’s ​slowly ramped in.

          • Jack

            Rates have been skyrocketing for years. I know – I worked in the corporate benefits area for a number of years.

            Not sure but George W. Bush’s HSA might have been in response to trying to stop that trend.

        • BJ

          Right – barely 2 years of the ACA at only about 90% of what it was supposed to be (because of parts already removed or changed).

  • jon

    Does anyone believe that this bill is going to make healthcare more affordable for anyone?

    Premiums have been going up for years, before obamacare, and after obamacare.

    So yeah, if you are in a state that opts out of the ACA regulations, and have a pre-existing condition, and lapse your coverage, you can be charged out the nose. IF you are a member of a “high risk pool” in the individual market you can be charged out the nose.

    But I’ve not heard anything about how it’s going to reduce prices for me, in a group plan through work. Or for anyone who is young and healthy in the individual market.

    I’ve a hard time believing that the insurance companies that have been raising rates for all of my life time (pre and post ACA) are going to all the sudden change course, and lower rates instead because of this legislation… nothing in there seems to even encourage that.

  • Anna

    Why don’t we just convert all hospitals, clinics, nursing homes to sliding scale fee so people pay what they can afford based on their income?

    A lot of these were around before Obamacare came into existence and at least allowed people to see a physician before their medical condition got out of control.

    I’m sure this idea will produce a lot of howling from rich Republicans but they don’t need to worry about affording healthcare like the rest of the disappearing, middle class and the working poor.

    • BJ

      Then the really poor areas will have people paying nothing, so no hospital or clinic will be open.

  • LifebloodMN

    If Kimmel has insurance then his kid does until they turn 27, that’s not changing as of today. And I’m pretty sure Kimmel had insurance, because the 2.5% penalty tax on him would be more than my salary.

    • // then his kid does until they turn 27

      Unless he reaches the lifetime cap, presently banned under AHCA, but which gives large employer insurance companies the right to use the essential benefits definition from any state.

  • Will

    So here’s the thing, we tried Obamacare and it failed. Let’s try the AHCA and see where we’re at in 7-8 years and see what happens to prices. Elections have consequences, the GOP won so let’s try their plan now. We can revisit if elections are won by another party in a few years. In the meantime I’d like to see some liberal states try single payer (I would even be open to it here if the DFL wins here) and see how it works, if it works on a smaller scale then we can try it on the federal level… like we’re doing with marijuana law currently.

    • The AHCA is already dead. The Senate Republicans have already said it’s DOA.

      • Will

        Well whatever form it becomes in the Senate…I don’t think Trump really cares what it is or does as long as he can claim he repealed Obamacare. Some advice for those on the left, let Trump make that claim while keeping some Obamacare benefits.

        • Or, you know, make it even better than the ACA.

          /I won’t hold my breath.

          • Will

            Sure, but everyone is looking to use this issue for political gain no one wants to work with the opposing party.

          • Kind of like what happened with the ACA, even though much of THAT was based on a Republican healthcare plan…

          • You want political gain? Make the new law better than the old law.

            If that happened, I guarantee the opposing sides would come together for this issue.

    • jon

      Yes we should have single states try things, and if they are successful we can implement it at the national level, give it a year maybe two, then declare that it’s in a death spiral, provide no evidence to support that case, and then repeal it and let some 20,000-45,000 people die each year from lack of coverage!

      We’ll calls it Romneycare at the state level and Obamacare at the federal level…

    • Postal Customer

      Obamacare covers 20m previously uninsured people. “It failed”


      • Will

        Yep now 50-100 million people are afraid to use their insurance due the high deductibles. While the 20 million get free coverage and don’t even know what a deductible is! Nice accomplishment.

        • The 20 million people who got insurance coverage got coverage with no deductibles? Is that your assertion?

          • Will

            People who get free insurance generally get to avoid deductibles.

          • Nope. Not good enough. If you can’t cite a source for your claim, you’re probably just typing up the first thing that comes into your head in a bid to get people stirred up. That’s trolling.

            Last chance. Go.

          • A little time out is in order, I guess. Spewing is not a substitute for facts and intelligent debate isn’t possible otherwise. It just becomes an attempt to disrupt and the policy has been stated many times.

          • BJ

            You keep saying free insurance, I don’t think that means what you think it means.

            Do you mean Medicare? Or Private?

        • seedhub

          Does someone really need to point out that about an hour ago, you proposed that health insurance should be more expensive so that people would use less of it?

          • Will

            I’m saying coverage should be similar, you shouldn’t have some people paying $20,000+/year in premiums and deductibles while others pay nothing but $3 co-pays… everyone should have some skin in the game but not an insane amount. Can you see how that system is unfair? Tax credits help achieve that goal.

          • seedhub

            You’re also saying that the poor should be discouraged from accessing healthcare, while the middle class and wealthy should not.

          • kennedy

            This ‘similar’ level of coverage you speak of: you do realize the AHCA is moving away from that? It allows insurance companies to charge even higher premiums for certain consumers, while also allowing insurers to offer plans with lower benefits than the current law allows. It also reduces government support for health care, cutting off resources that support the needy and the elderly.

        • Jeff C.

          “now 50-100 million people are afraid to use their insurance due the high deductibles.”

          Please tell us your source for this claim.

        • Jerry

          So basically, you’re just jealous?

          “Why can’t I be poor so I get cheaper insurance?”

  • Rob

    I have every confidence that when the wealthy white male coterie of Repub senators proffer their version of the American Hellthscare Abomination, it will be a beautiful thing, filled with rainbows and unicorns. Or, as the Soup Nazi would say: “No healthcare for you!”

  • lindblomeagles

    The sickest part of the current Trump Care debate is House Republicans and Donald Trump continue to suggest we Americans are TOO DUMB to figure out when we’re being conned. You won’t find a single authority on health care anywhere that can find the magic bullet Trump and House Republicans keep telling us is in Trump Care. Not one. And yet, they haven’t stopped defending Trump Care. They haven’t stopped saying “This is the greatest health care plan ever.” They haven’t stopped saying, “The bill won’t leave millions of Americans without a single affordable health care alternative.” They ALL SHOULD BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE for insisting their lie is the truth.