Fans tuning into "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Thursday night for some lighthearted comedy may have been disappointed as Kimmel got political on the show once again, using his platform to discuss the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“We’re on the brink of a government shutdown right now, and Congress are trying to hammer out some kind of agreement to keep the country open,” he told viewers. “Republicans have been trying all week to blame Democrats for a possible shutdown. They’re saying the Democrats are shutting the government down, even though Republicans are in control of the House, the Senate and the White House.”
He continued, “The Republicans have done something that I think is bad: They’ve lumped CHIP into their spending bill. CHIP is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers about 9 million low income kids and has yet to be reauthorized. It’s been 100 days since it expired. It’s very scary for parents. The funding for CHIP should have never been allowed to run out in the first place.”
Kimmel then slammed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying the pair “decided to use it as a bargaining tool.”
Kimmel’s speech included a bit with a Starbucks barista that mocked the government for the looming shutdown. He later added President Trump was “100 percent correct” when he tweeted that “CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!”
However, he still took aim at Trump for the message that appeared to undermine the GOP's strategy.
“I think Donald Trump actually wants a government shutdown,” Kimmel said as the audience laughed. “I think he think it would be like a snow day for him to take off.”
One issue with the late night host’s monologue was that he failed to mention that the House passed a bill Thursday night that extends CHIP for six years.
This is far from the first time Kimmel has spoken out about health care on his show.
After his son Billy was born with a heart condition, Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue in favor of the Affordable Care Act.
“It definitely has changed my approach in general, not only to the show, but how I conduct myself,” he recently told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour. “I happened into a situation at a very specific time in American history in which I was able to say something that hopefully at least made people pay attention if not anything else. It hopefully got them to pick up their telephones and tell their leaders what they expect.”
He continued, “People give me credit for saving Obamacare and I reject that… I think if anything it’s such a no-brainer that Americans react. You see a guy you think you know, and his baby has had a serious health issue and… I don’t think it’s particularly remarkable that Americans reacted that way because I think whatever side we’re on we agree on that – that we have to help children.”
Kimmel is aware that his show has gotten more political in recent months, but he doesn't plan to shy away from covering the headlines.
“Some nights you wish you could balance it out a little bit so that you can cover a variety of subjects, but it’s relentless,” he said of the influx of political headlines. "It’s like the difference between working in a… doctor’s office to the ER. Every day is a mad scramble to stay alive.”