US television host Jimmy Kimmel has tearfully told of his newborn son’s illness and brush with death last week.
At the end of his story he made a plea for people to support the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
He said: “No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.”
President Trump made repealing Obamacare one of the central tenets of his campaign, castigating its costs and calling it a “disaster”.
In March his attempt to replace it failed, in an embarrassing setback for the new administration, but Republicans still aim to change the system.
Kimmel – a fixture of late-night TV in the US and host of this year’s Oscars – told the studio audience on his regular show that three hours after a normal birth, his son Billy started to turn purple.
One nurse spotted it and took him away for checks, soon finding that he had a heart illness. The situation looked serious, and “we had atheists praying for us,” he said.
But Billy went through open heart surgery at three days old and, thanks to the efforts of the staff at the children’s hospital, he survived.
“You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you wouldn’t be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel said.
“If your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied.”
He continued: “If your baby is going to die and doesn’t have to it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.
“I mean I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else – we all agree on that, right?”
“This isn’t football. There are no teams; we are the team. No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen, not here.”
One of the people behind the Affordable Care Act, Andy Slavitt, tweeted that those who watched Mr Kimmel’s monologue should use it as inspiration to lobby Congress.