US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel had tears in his eyes as he held his baby son in front of the cameras and made a passionate plea over children’s healthcare.
Kimmel was returning to his late-night show after taking a week off for the boy’s second heart surgery.
His voice cracking at times, Kimmel gave a monologue calling on the US Congress to restore a children’s health insurance programme that has recently lapsed.
He said it was “disgusting” that politicians had prioritised “getting tax cuts for their billionaire and millionaire donors”.
Kimmel’s son, Billy, had surgery soon after he was born in April and the eight-month-old had another operation last week.
The host wants US politicians to restore the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has been unfunded since September because of a political stalemate.
Kimmel said the programme had covered nine million children and was in place for several decades.
However, he said it was now on the “backburner while they (politicians) work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer, diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month”.
“Imagine getting that letter,” Kimmel said, “literally not knowing how you will afford to save your child’s life.”
He added: “I don’t know about you, 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.”
Kimmel also fought back tears on his show in May in the weeks after his son was born.
He described the “terrifying” moment – an hour after the birth – when a nurse noticed Billy was slightly purple and rushed him into emergency open-heart surgery.
A sonogram showed his son was born with holes in the wall separating the right and left sides of the heart and a blocked pulmonary valve.
Kimmel is a familiar to millions in the US and worldwide for his talk show, and will also host the Oscars again next year.