White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney responded Wednesday to a heartfelt appeal to lawmakers by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that children not be denied care because of pre-existing conditions – with Mulvaney saying he agrees, and Republicans aren’t looking to kick people off their health care.
“Everyone, I think, agrees with Jimmy Kimmel that we have enough money in this country to provide care for those type of folks,” he told "Fox & Friends."
Kimmel, host of “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” choked up Monday night as he told the story of his son’s birth and subsequent health scare, which revealed he had a heart defect requiring urgent surgery. After telling his story, he urged lawmakers discussing health care reform on Capitol Hill to work together to make sure no child can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
“Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you were born with a pre-existing condition,” he said.
“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, we all agree on that, we do,” he said, adding that lawmakers in Washington need to understand that.
“Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants, we need to take care of each other,” Kimmel said. “No parent should have to ever decide if they can afford to save their child’s life, it just shouldn’t happen, not here.”
Democrats leapt on Kimmel’s viral remarks – which had already picked up over 7 million hits on YouTube alone – to pressure Republicans over a new health bill in the works which is struggling to attract enough support.
“Well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy. And congratulations!” former President Barack Obama tweeted.
Well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy. And congratulations! https://t.co/77F8rZrD3P— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 2, 2017
Hillary Clinton also weighed in on Kimmel's remarks.
But Mulvaney said on “Fox & Friends” that Kimmel’s call is something that everyone agrees on.
“I don’t think the logical conclusion is that, ‘Oh, by the way, Republicans are going to kick these people off of health care.' That’s not the point,” he said.
Kimmel’s remarks have drawn focus in particular to Republican plans to allow states to weaken protections that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
The current bill includes a provision by which companies can charge more to those with pre-existing conditions as long as states create high-risk pools for those affected. Some more centrist Republicans have declined to back the bill in the House because of the provision, making it unclear if the bill can pass before a looming recess.
But Mulvaney said the plan wasn’t so much about weakening protections, but giving states more power to take control of health care for their people.
“The point behind the state waiver program is that state governments know how to treat children like the Kimmel baby better than the federal government does,” he said.
“If we give more control to the states they can figure out a way to best provide for children like Mr. Kimmel’s baby,” he said.