Health and Science

Jimmy Kimmel's monologue on son's lifesaving surgery and Trump's health policies scores huge on social media

Key Points
  • Kimmel's monologue got about 14 times the number of typical Facebook views for his content.
  • A video of the talk was retweeted more than 26,000 times.
  • The monologue came as a GOP health-care bill remains stalled in the House.
Kimmel's monologue on Trump's health policies goes viral
Kimmel's monologue on Trump's health policies goes viral

Did you hear the one about the funnyman who cried — and got 14 million Facebook views?

Jimmy Kimmel's tear-jerker of a monologue about the lifesaving heart surgery for his newborn son and about American health-care policy exploded on social media — and potentially added to the difficulties President Donald Trump faces in getting an Obamacare replacement bill passed in Congress.

Axios reported Wednesday that a video of the monologue from Monday's episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on ABC was met with social media engagement that greatly exceeded what is typically seen for Kimmel-related content.

During the monologue, Kimmel criticized Trump's attempt to cut federal funding for the National Institutes of Health, and urged Republicans and Democrats to support health policy that protects all Americans from high medical costs.

"We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but until what, a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all," Kimmel said. "Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition."

That year, 2014, was when Obamacare health insurance plans began taking effect.

On Facebook, Axios noted, a clip of the monologue got more than 14 million views and 230,000 reactions in less than 24 hours. Kimmel's Facebook posts normally don't receive more than 1 million views, according to Axios.

And on Instagram, Kimmel's monologue about doubled the average engagement for his posts, receiving almost 123,000 views and more than 20,000 likes.

But the most dramatic disparity was on Twitter, where the emotional video got more than 31,000 retweets as of Wednesday.


"His tweets typically don't earn more than a couple of hundred retweets," Axios noted.

Axios' Mike Allen wrote that a veteran of the Obama White House told him that Kimmel "killed the Republicans' already shaky efforts to revive the House's health-care reform."

That may be overstating the effect of Kimmel's monologue somewhat, since the GOP Obamacare replacement bill was already in trouble, and has been more nearly two months since Republican leaders scrapped a planned vote on it.


But his story and comments underscored the concerns that a number of House Republicans are struggling with as their leaders try to get them to vote for a new version of the legislation, known as the American Health Care Act.

That bill was dealt two serious blows on Monday and Tuesday when GOP Reps. Billy Long and Fred Upton said they would vote no on the bill because of worries that it would negatively affect people with pre-existing conditions.

The defections ended Republican hopes that a vote on the bill could take place on Wednesday. GOP leaders say they won't call that vote until they have the votes to pass it, and as of now there are almost enough "no" votes from Republicans, coupled with undecided GOPs members, to ensure that the bill would fail.

Trump met Wednesday with Upton and Long to discuss their concerns.

Politico reported later that both congressmen now will support the bill after the addition of an amendment to alleviate their concerns. That amendment would add $8 billion in federal funding to constrain insurance costs for people with pre-existing conditions who face higher premiums as a result of letting their insurance plans lapse.