Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday brought his young son out on stage in an emotional plea urging viewers to call Congress about Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding.

“This is literally a life-and-death program for American kids,” Kimmel said during ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” while holding his son, Billy. 


Kimmel said he missed work last week due to his son’s heart surgery, as he argued Congress should fully fund CHIP. Federal funding expired for the program at the end of September. Congress is expected to renew funds as early as this month, but the uncertainty has some states warning enrollees about the possibility of losing coverage if Congress does not act.

“If these were potato chips they were taking away from us, we would be marching on Washington with pitchforks and spears right now,” Kimmel said.

Kimmel waded into the health-care debate earlier this year in a separate emotional plea for coverage of pre-existing conditions when he first revealed that his son was born with a heart defect.

In September, Kimmel blasted Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-La.), saying the GOP health-care legislation he co-authored violated the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” Cassidy had earlier coined the phrase as a way of saying that no one should be denied care because they can’t afford it.

Republicans were ultimately unsuccessful in passing legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare in several tries earlier this year.

--This report was updated at 7:33 a.m.