Jimmy Kimmel Says Son Had 3rd Heart Surgery Over Memorial Day Weekend

Jimmy Kimmel has revealed that his son Billy had his third (and hopefully last) open heart surgery over Memorial Day weekend.

“We went into this experience with a lot of optimism and nearly as much fear and came out with a new valve inside a happy, healthy kid,” the ABC late-night host wrote on Instagram Monday, captioning a photo of Billy smiling in what looks like a hospital bed.

Kimmel went on to praise the doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Billy was treated.

“We hope you never need CHLA, but if you do – know that they help families regardless of their ability to pay, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act (another salute to the late Senator John McCain), generous donations from companies like Disney, which I am proud to work for and especially from generous people like you,” Kimmel wrote.

He also thanked his friends, family and even strangers for their support for Billy.

“Thank you to my wife Molly for being stronger than is reasonable for any Mom to be and Billy, you are the toughest (and funniest) 7 year-old we know,” Kimmel added.

He went on to urge people to support Children’s Hospital L.A. and their local children’s hospitals.

Kimmel has previously been outspoken about Billy’s health issues.

Shortly after Billy was born, Kimmel spoke about Billy’s congenital heart defect and his then-baby’s need to have open-heart surgery, again at Children’s Hospital, at just three days old. The procedure went well but inspired Kimmel to advocate for health insurance coverage.

“If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it should not matter how much money you make,” Kimmel said during his emotional monologue shortly after Billy was born in 2017.

Kimmel’s remarks came amid concerted efforts to repeal the ACA by then-President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress in 2017. In a memorable late-night vote that summer, three Republican senators, including the late John McCain, voted against repealing the ACA. The law, one of former President Barack Obama’s key policy achievements, is still in place.

Kimmel continued to update viewers on Billy’s condition and, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter later in 2017, explained what inspired him to speak out about his son’s condition the way he did.

“I knew I had to say something, and I knew that I would get emotional. It occurred to me that maybe we could make it into something positive,” he explained. “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 health care at that time. I think it made a big impact on American citizens. I’m not sure, based on how our so-called leaders voted, whether it made a big impact on the Senate or House.”

He added, “I don’t see what the difference between health care and education is. Every kid should have a right to an education. We don’t seem to have a problem with paying for that. I was relieved when the [GOP bills] failed to pass, but it’s far from over. I worry that those who oppose Obamacare are going to do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t work. Nothing is perfect, but when people are working against something, it makes it a tough road. I worry that these politicians don’t care about the people they represent. I have spoken with so many people who strongly believe the reason they are alive or their brother is alive or their parents are alive is the Affordable Health Care Act. It’s undeniable if you talk to people.”

Kimmel’s wife and head writer Molly McNearney echoed those thoughts in a separate interview with THR.

“I just don’t understand. To me, children having access to health care, no matter what their parents’ income, should not be a divisive issue, but that’s where we are as a country right now,” she said, explaining how the 2016 election in which Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, inspired her to become more politically active.

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