Jimmy Kimmel’s baby boy is “doing great.”
The late night host gave the Hollywood Reporter an update on the health of his nearly 4-month-old son, who underwent emergency surgery for a rare heart disease only three days after his birth in April this year.
“Young Billy made his first visit to our office today. He’s juggling. He’s translating Flaubert from French into English. He’s really an amazing kid,” Kimmel jokes to THR. “No — he smiles. That’s pretty much it. He is very interested in ceiling fans. He likes those a lot. I could get him to pay the same amount for Netflix just to watch ceiling fans.”
Billy’s story went viral in May when Kimmel delivered a 13-minute monologue tearfully describing the whole ordeal, and making a passionate case for universal healthcare in the United States.
In the interview with THR, Kimmel does say that his son isn’t quite out of the woods yet. “He has to have two more open heart surgeries. We would like to get them over with and not have to think about it all the time, but it could definitely be worse.”
“It occurred to me that maybe we could make it into something positive,” Kimmel says of his decision to address the situation on his show. “I had a lot of time to think at the hospital, and it just so happened that our government was deciding whether or not millions of people should have healthcare at that time. I think it made a big impact on American citizens.”
It wasn’t just average citizens who were touched. President Obama reached out to Kimmel. “He sent a very nice letter,” Kimmel says. “He wished us the best and thanked us for speaking. President Clinton sent a letter. President [George W.] Bush sent a very nice letter. A number of congresspeople sent notes. My goal always is to not make this a red or blue issue, because I don’t think it is. If the opinion polls are to be believed, more than 80 percent of Americans support some kind of health insurance plan that works.”
Asked whether he would have the current President Donald Trump on the show, Kimmel says, “I absolutely would. I would love to talk to him about this. I would like to see, as a father and a person who prides himself on speaking the truth, what he thinks. If I were his next-door neighbour and I didn’t have health insurance for my child, I find it hard to believe he would ignore that.”
In the meantime, while the attempts to repeal Obamacare have failed in the U.S. Congress, Kimmel advocates for American citizens to help where they can, saying that “it’s very important when you’re making your donations to remember places like Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and hospitals like it across the country.”
“A lot of the children [at CHLA] have cancer and other things that are really horrible,” Kimmel adds. “Things that aren’t solved with two or three operations. It was obvious that many of them were low-income kids. To know that this hospital was taking care of them no matter what, no matter if we have universal health care in this country or not, is really impressive.”