Late night host Jimmy Kimmel has been on a roll lately. As Stephen Colbert's ratings have gone up by capturing the attention of angry liberals, Kimmel had to do something. So he took up the crusade against touching Obamacare and is using his son for moral authority.
His facile logic is simple. His son had a terrible health problem and thanks to Kimmel's great insurance and very well-paying job, his son was able to get the surgery he needed. Consequently, if Republicans change or repeal Obamacare, they will hurt kids who do not have Jimmy Kimmel's income and insurance plan. So Republicans must be stopped.
It has certainly helped him in the media. Kimmel got more mentions by the press than Stephen Colbert last week, and Colbert had just hosted the Emmy's. To be fair to Kimmel, good for him. He has every right to take his position as an American citizen. He has a platform and is using it for a cause he cares about. As a side benefit, it helps him in the ratings against another host who has been doing the same thing. But now Kimmel can make it even more personal and humanize himself more than Colbert.
The problem is not what Kimmel is doing, but that the same reporters who lament the election of a reality TV star as president are giving moral authority to Jimmy Kimmel to talk credibly about public policy because of his son. He gets expert status and headlines in the press to talk about Obamacare because he is a highly paid celebrity who has access to doctors, income, and insurance that the average Obamacare recipient does not have.
But based on this standard, I have vastly more moral authority than Jimmy Kimmel. In addition to earning far less than he does, I am writing this column right now with a pulmonary embolism. And upstairs from me, resting, is my wife who has cancer. Thanks to our health care insurance, which I get through my employer, we have the means to pay for her monthly medicine, which would otherwise cost more than I make. If we had Obamacare, we would not be able to afford the medicine. Eventually, my wife's cancer will mutate to get around the medicine she is taking. We will have to work with a doctor to find a new medicine to keep the cancer at bay. With Obamacare, the bureaucratic processes would be far more difficult, costing us valuable time.
So I oppose Obamacare because I believe we can do better. Neither Jimmy Kimmel nor I have to worry about being a self-employed middle-class father with a sick child. But I know more than one forced to go on Obamacare and their experiences are far worse and more costly than what they had before Obamacare. I am sure in his coastal bubble and groupthink, like most Democrats, Kimmel has never encountered someone whose health care situation became worse after Obamacare. There are several million Americans in that situation. But Kimmel had a sick son, so who cares about those people.
Because Jimmy Kimmel had a sick son, there is no reason at all to care about my friend, who, to avoid the fine for not having insurance, now has a health care insurance plan that literally no doctor in Georgia will accept. He has to go to a hospital or emergency room if he wants insurance to cover his costs. Before Obamacare, he had a cheaper monthly insurance rate and a plan all his doctors accepted.
The media and celebrities have grossly distorted the conversation on health care just as Obamacare has grossly distorted health care costs. Should anyone want a change in the system, they are accused of wanting to kill kids and hurt people. The reality is that every Republican in Congress wants to provide health care for those who truly cannot afford it. But they also want those who can afford it to not have to rely on the federal government. But who cares about those details when Jimmy Kimmel has a son and ratings to worry about?