Jimmy Kimmel Fires Back At Criticism Over His Health Care Comments

"I'd like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care. That was insensitive — it was offensive — and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."

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Jimmy Kimmel returned to his late-night show Monday after a week of paternity leave, and immediately fired back at criticism he received for his comments about Republican health care plans.

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The host assured viewers Monday that Billy is doing fine, and he remarked on the backlash he received for his comments.

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"One week ago tonight, I made an emotional speech," Kimmel said. "And as a result of my powerful words, Republicans in Congress had second thoughts about repeal and replace. They realized that what is right is right — and I saved health insurance in America!"

"Oh, I didn’t? They voted against it anyway?" he joked. "I really need to pay more attention to the news."

"This is from the New York Post: 'Jimmy Kimmel’s obscene lies about kids and medical care,'" Kimmel said. "This is from – something called the Washington Times: 'Shut up, Jimmy Kimmel, you elitist creep.'"

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"I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been called an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist creep this week," he added, joking that he appreciated the sentiment because "when I was a kid, we had to drink powdered milk because we couldn’t afford the liquid variety."

"Anyway, I'd like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care," Kimmel said wryly. "That was insensitive — it was offensive — and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."

Kimmel returned to the health care issue later in the show, interviewing Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who joined the late-night host in calling for accessible children's health care.

Capitalizing on the response to Kimmel's story last week, Cassidy coined the term "The Kimmel Test," and demanded that any new health care legislation ensure access for children born with medical issues.

Cassidy-Collins plan passes the #KimmelTest. Maintains coverage, protections for preexisting conditions, BUT in a fiscally conservative way.

"Will a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in the first year of life?" Cassidy asked, explaining the test in an interview with CNN. Cassidy has been pushing his own health care plan, authored with moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

"I am all about people having the insurance they need," Cassidy told Kimmel Monday.

Kimmel then asked the senator if they could tweak the "Kimmel Test" to say "no family should be denied medical care — emergency or otherwise — because they can't afford it."

"Hey, man, you're on the right track," Cassidy replied. "If that's as close as we can get — that works great in government. But we got to be able to pay for it. And that's the challenge."

"I can think of a way to pay for it," Kimmel said. "Don't give a huge tax credit to millionaires like me. Instead, leave it how it is."

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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