As Key Republican Defects on Health Bill, Obama Praises Kimmel

He praises host for moving monologue
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2017 4:16 AM CDT
Updated May 3, 2017 6:01 AM CDT

Jimmy Kimmel's emotional plea in support of ObamaCare won praise from its namesake Tuesday, with former President Obama thanking the late-night host for sharing the story of how his newborn son, Billy, had to undergo open-heart surgery last week. "Well said, Jimmy," Obama tweeted. "That's exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy." Republicans are split on their party's latest attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare. With his monologue going viral and growing numbers of moderate Republicans rejecting the bill, Kimmel may have helped doom the measure to defeat.

The issue dividing Republicans is the potential removal of protection for people with pre-existing conditions, an issue that made Rep. Fred Upton the latest GOP defector on Tuesday. The New York Times reports that Upton—who said he couldn't support a bill that "torpedoes" such protection—is particularly influential because he chaired one of the House committees that drafted the original version of the bill. Unless some Democrats can be persuaded to support the revamped bill, the GOP can afford to lose no more than 22 Republican votes in the House and according to a Washington Post analysis, 21 GOP lawmakers are opposed or leaning against the bill, with another 22 undecided. (More Jimmy Kimmel stories.)

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