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 CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills 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.