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Obamacare Password Problems; Sources: House GOP to Unveil Compromise; Interview with Rep. Jackie Speier: Hospital Blasted after Corpse Discovery; Interview with Stephanie Mehta; Dow Soars 200-plus points; Fortune Magazines Most Powerful Women in Business

Aired October 10, 2013 - 10:30   ET


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, a script was sent out to representatives and they said this morning some representatives were telling people like me, "Hey, you've got to reset your password", when that is not the case.


COHEN: And the bottom line is I still can't log in.

COSTELLO: Even though you reset your password.

COHEN: Well I didn't end up resetting it, because it's not necessary. But I still can't log in.

COSTELLO: Ok. So I guess you can call maybe and get a live person on the phone to fix some of these problems, is that true?

COHEN: Well what you can do is if, like me, you're not able to log in and you want to get insurance, is you can call the 800 number that they have on their site. They can help you with a lot of it over phone and they can also send you information by snail mail. Remember snail mail?

COSTELLO: Oh, that.

COHEN: Oh yes right exactly. And so the process would be slower than if you could do it online. But it will work. That's what we're told. And you don't have to sign up right away. You know, you've got a couple of -- you know several months to play with, but that people are experiencing the problems that I'm experiencing.

Now some people have been able to log in, and look at insurance policies and it's worked great for them. And I know that because I've heard from some of them. But then there are people like me, who have not been able to log in.

COSTELLO: Ok and we still don't know the exact number of people who've successfully logged in and successfully applied?

COHEN: Right. I don't have an exact number. And what was -- what was interesting about what happened today is HHS was very clear. They're like, yes, we were going to do a change to the Web site that would have deleted passwords and required them to be reset, but we decided not to do it. But the script was given to representatives anyway.

So representatives were telling some people, like me, yes, you're going to have to reset your password when, in fact, that wasn't the case.

COSTELLO: All right Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

COSTELLO: Today we learned the President would sign a short-term debt ceiling deal if it does not contain Republican provisions. White House officials says any deal would raise the debt ceiling for about six weeks while negotiations take place but it doesn't do anything to end the partial government shutdown.

House Democrats like Jackie Speier are telling the House Speaker to let your people go demanding a vote on a clean funding bill. At least 19 Republicans have said they would vote on such a thing.

In the middle of all of this, of course, is Obamacare which is still as you heard Elizabeth say, plagued with glitches and delays. The Republicans are calling for a delay on several parts of the law before funding the government.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: A one-year delay on that tax is more than fair given how poorly the rollout of Obamacare has been.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Democrats say it's unreasonable to ask for any changes or delays to Obamacare and Republicans -- well, we think the Obamacare rollout has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt just how reasonable a delay is.


COSTELLO: Joining us from Capitol Hill, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. Welcome Congresswoman.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Great to be with you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Ok I have to ask you about these glitches in the Obamacare system. Obviously, there are problems. So maybe a delay would be a good thing? Something to think about?

SPEIER: Well, actually, the delay would not be a good thing because there is this pent up demand to access health insurance. So, the system wasn't adequately prepared for the number of people, Americans who would come online and want insurance. That just speaks of the interest in it. The capacity has been doubled, tripled during the last few days.

The President said to us when he met with us yesterday that it should be up and running in a manner that can handle all of the demand that's out there within the next day or two and I think it's important to point out, you have until March to actually sign up.

So there is still a great deal of time in which to prove the system.


COSTELLO: But -- see Congresswoman when people hear there are glitches in the system and it's not like it's a surprise that the government had to set up these health care computer systems, right? So -- so why are there glitches? Because that just tells people that here again the government did something like sloppy and it's not working for us.

SPEIER: Well, we're not -- you know, we don't have the gold standard in terms of IT. You can look at the Air Force, you can look at any number of areas, government entities where we have not done IT in a very good manner. What we were -- that it was framed for was like 60,000 people coming on to that site at any point in time and it was upwards of 250,000.

So the capacity wasn't nearly high enough. That is being fixed right now. And it's just -- it underscores the fact that people want this insurance. They want to get these health care benefits and we're going to make sure over the next few weeks that they can access this in a very timely fashion.

COSTELLO: Well that's good because this latest poll from the Associated Press/GFK shows that three-fourths of the people who tried to sign up for a health care exchange reported problems. Only seven percent say the rollout is going well.

That's just not making Obamacare look like such a good program. And it's giving credence to -- to what some Republicans are saying.

SPEIER: Well, it gives credence to make sure that there is an extended period of time for people to sign up. And I'm certainly willing to look at extending the time in which you enroll to beyond March. But I think that what it also says is that there is really an incredible demand for health insurance for people in this country. And we want to make sure that they can access it. And that is what is being fixed right now.

COSTELLO: Ok. Well let's talk about this possible deal that Republicans and the President are going to talk about later this afternoon. Despite that, some Republicans aren't for the President's -- the President's idea, because he said he would sign a short-term deal if there were no Republican provisions attached to this deal.

Some in the GOP says he's just being spiteful. Let's listen.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: This is a spiteful President, Carol. And the American people need to understand that, too. Trying to run a government with a spiteful president that locks our veterans out of their World War II Memorial when there's never been barricades around there before. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: So a spiteful president it seems like the two sides are just as far apart as ever.

SPEIER: Well actually I don't think that's true. And I think everyone has got to tone down the rhetoric. I mean to use the word spiteful, to me, is not productive. What we do have is the President saying I'm willing to negotiate with you. I'm willing to do a short- term continuation of the CR, a short-term continuation of increasing the debt limit so that it gives us the opportunity to negotiate, to come to the table and do a grand bargain.

COSTELLO: But he's saying no Republican provisions. So it's just like so let's extend this deal and maybe I'll still get what I -- all that I want in the long run.

SPEIER: Actually, what we probably are not willing to do is attach it to repealing Obamacare. And that is truly what the Republicans are still interested. Over 40 times they have tried to link opening the government, raising the debt limit to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

What's happening, though, is that the economy is being held hostage as a result. And we saw what happened when we almost didn't lift the debt ceiling in 2011; 200,000 jobs were lost. Over $600 billion lost in the 401(k)s of Americans. This is not professional. This is not responsible. And that is what we've got to stay focused on -- opening the government, making sure the economy is working, creating the jobs.

COSTELLO: Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

SPEIER: My pleasure.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, move over, boys. This one is all about women. "Fortune" magazine out with its most powerful women in business -- we'll tell you who is on the list. I know she is.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Investigators in California confirm that a body found in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital is, indeed, that of missing patient Lynn Spalding. The 57-year-old woman had been missing from her hospital room for 17 days. Hospital officials say they still have no idea how her body ended up in an exterior stairwell. Spalding's friends and relatives are furious they want answers.

CNN's Dan Simons joins me now live from San Francisco. Good morning -- Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Carol. This was purely a random find, a member of the hospital's engineering staff just happened upon this body. As you can imagine people who knew Lynn Spalding are still very much in disbelief. And you can hear the anger in their voices.


JENNY RUAH, LYNN SPALDING'S FRIEND: I just want to know that this would never happen to anyone else.

SIMON: Raw emotion as friends of Lynn Spalding sharply criticize the San Francisco Hospital where the 57-year-old's body was found in one of the facility's outdoor stairwells. She vanished nearly three weeks before from her hospital room. We now know why a frantic search that included flyers and a Facebook page called "Find Lynn" generated no credible leads because Spalding may have been dead or dying in that stairwell the whole time.

RUAH: There are so many places around here that someone could hide or go or be disoriented or be in harm's way.

SIMON: An embarrassed staff could provide little in the way of real answers.

DR. TODD MAY, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, S.F. GENERAL HOSPITAL: We are here to take care of patients, to heal them, to keep them safe. This has shaken us to our core. Our staff is devastated.

SIMON: Lynn Spalding, the mother of two with a thick British accent, was admitted to the hospital on September 19th for a serious infection. Two days later, she was nowhere to be found; 15 minutes after being checked on by a nurse. The family recalls her room on the fifth floor, highlighted by this box. The red arrow showing where her body was discovered just one floor below in a fire escape.

When Spalding walked through the doors of the fire escape, the hospital says they would have automatically locked behind her; the only way out would have been to find the exit to the hospital grounds.

MAY: We're not here to throw anyone under the bus. We're here for answers.

SIMON: A family spokesman questioning why no one apparently looked in that fire escape.

MAY: Lynn Spalding died alone in the stairwell and her body was there for 17 days.


SIMON: Well people have been asking whether or not the family is going to file a lawsuit against the hospital -- certainly an appropriate question to ask -- but at this point the family says it's still too early to ask those questions. After all, Carol, they're just beginning to grieve. Back to you.

COSTELLO: Well if she opened that emergency door, wouldn't an alarm sound? SIMON: That's a very good question. We don't know if, in fact, an alarm sounded. And one would think not because you would have had staff reacting to it. You know, sometimes those alarms don't go off. People you know -- we all know sometimes people go through those alarms and they take smoke breaks, for instance. So still a lot of unanswered questions here. And of course we want to know just how long she was in that fire escape.

COSTELLO: So many questions, like weren't there security cameras that could track her or track -- I don't know but so many unanswered questions. Dan Simon, thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM the Olympic flame making its way through Russia suddenly goes out four times. Is the torch a dud or is it a conspiracy against Russia?


COSTELLO: Stocks are rallying this morning on word that Washington could be close to a short-term deal to keep the country from defaulting on its debt. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. They're not asking for much.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, no, no. I mean you could really just call this a Band-Aid if this, in fact, happens, this sort of short-term deal but it would be a deal nonetheless. So you know what, for Wall Street that seems to be enough.

We're seeing that wave of confidence sweep through stocks right now. The Dow up 211 points and this is after investors have really, really been beaten down lately. You look at stocks, they've lost more than 300 points since the shutdown started. Some are skeptical until a deal actually comes in. For now you're seeing a sigh of relief.

This is the best bet so far, at least as Wall Street sees it. We are seeing investors buy in. The question, though, is if this rally is going to continue through the closing bell. Got a long day ahead of us, Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes. I don't think that the President meets with Republicans until much later this afternoon so maybe it will continue. But then we have tomorrow to think about.

Talk about this jump in jobless claims.

KOSIK: Ok. So, this is interesting because we got the jobless claims numbers today. And this is really the first indication, the first hard numbers that are showing, you know, what the government shutdown -- what kind of impact it has on Americans. What we did find in these numbers is a huge jump in these new claims numbers -- 66,000. That's a big jump. That's the biggest increase that we've seen since Superstorm Sandy which was what, a year ago. Now most of these claims numbers are actually coming from people who are sort of backlogged from these processing problems that were happening in California.

But then you look at the numbers again and you see a big chunk of those claims numbers. 15,000 of them are because of layoffs of nonfederal workers. I'm talking about contractors, people who work at companies like Lockheed Martin and United Technologies at these companies. These companies have had workers who were furloughed. So, you're seeing just how these 15,000 people just in one week who have only filed for jobless claims numbers, how they're being affected.

Now next week we are going to see the numbers on government workers who were furloughed. They're counted a bit differently -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Alison Kosik, reporting live from the New York Stock Exchange. Thank you.

Checking our other top stories at just about 50 minutes past the hour. Torch gate, the Olympic torch not so fiery in Russia; the flame has actually gone out four times since Sunday. At one point a security guard had to use a cigarette lighter to reignite it.

The Russians are calling for a criminal investigation because, you know, this thing isn't supposed to go out. Or they could just switch torches again. The government ordered 16,000 torches for the 41,000- mile trek. The Olympic flame due to arrive in Sochi in February.

The California teenager kidnapped by a family friend, who police say also killed her mother and brother spoke out this morning about her ordeal. Hannah Anderson told the NBC's "Today" show that James DiMaggio used zip ties and handcuffs to hold her hostage.


HANNAH ANDERSON, KIDNAP VICTIM: He made me play Russian roulette with him, sitting on the couch.


ANDERSON: Yes. When it was my turn, I started crying and was like freaking out. And he said "Do you want to play?" And I said "No." And I started crying. And then he was like, ok. And he stopped.


COSTELLO: Asked about DiMaggio, who was killed by the FBI in Idaho, Anderson says she feels disgusted, shocked, sick and angry.

The former mayor of Detroit, now in court to be sentenced for public corruption. Police say Kwami Kilpatrick should go to prison for at least 28 years. He was convicted in March on two dozen federal charges. He's been in custody since then because the judge ruled him a flight risk.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, "Fortune's" list of top women in business -- stick around to find out who took the top spot.


COSTELLO: "Fortune" magazine is releasing its annual list of the top 50 most powerful women in business. And gracing the cover -- Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook; she came in at number 5 actually. Topping the list for the second year in a row was IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. At number 2, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi. And number 3, Ellen Kullman the CEO of Dupont.

Joining me now to discuss is Stephanie Mehta, deputy managing editor for "Fortune" magazine. Hi Stephanie.


COSTELLO: So lets' start with Ginni Rometty. What makes her number 1?

MEHTA: Ginni runs arguably the most venerable technology company in the country. IBM is 102 years old. It's the largest technology company by market capitalization in the United States. It's a truly global company. And there's really no other female CEO sitting on top of a perch quite this big.

And the way that we measure power for the "Fortune" most powerful women's list is the size and scope of the woman's business, the arc of her career, her social significance and the direction and health of the business. And one of the things that's so interesting about Ginni Rometty is that she is not standing still. She's pushing IBM into new areas. She's looking for the next big thing.

And, you know, there's no question that she is the most powerful woman in the country, measured by those criteria.

COSTELLO: "Fortune" magazine has been putting together this list for years and years and years. Is it getting easier? Are there more women at the very top to choose from these days?

MEHTA: Absolutely. When we started doing the list, we had 5 out of 50 women who were CEOs of public companies. This year the list contains 20 women who are CEOs of stand-alone public companies. You know, the number of women we have to choose from is much greater.

In some ways that doesn't make it easier, though. You know, we are always trying to find new, fresh faces to put on the list. And there are always women who are doing amazing and interesting things that, you know, we try to take account for in our list. So, Marisa Meyers' company, Yahoo! is by no means the biggest company on the list but her social significance, 38 years old, running a public company, executing a turnaround, becoming CEO last year while she was pregnant, that is incredible social significance.

COSTELLO: You're not kidding. I was interested in Sheryl Sandberg. Why was she number five? Why wasn't she higher?

MEHTA: Well, again, we look at the size of the woman's business. Sheryl is chief operating officer. So while she has a huge palette of responsibilities at Facebook, the CEO is ultimately Mark Zuckerberg. So she's his number two, she's an important number two.

You know some people would argue, why is she so high because her role is not that of chief executive officer. But she's again, in terms of having a tremendous year and tremendous impact, best selling novel -- I'm sorry me, best selling book, "Lean In", you know, she has continued to be an influential woman.

Young women I meet everywhere, ask me what I think of "Lean In". They want to know, have I met Sheryl Sandberg? She is somebody who has elevated her position beyond that of the world of business.

COSTELLO: Awesome. Stephanie Mehta, deputy managing editor for "Fortune" magazine, thank you so much for being with me this morning.

MEHTA: Thanks for having me, Carol.

And thank you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield after a break.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It's Thursday, October 10th. Welcome to "LEGAL VIEW".

If Congress can't solve a problem or if Congress can't ignore a problem, Congress can usually find a way to postpone a problem, and so emerges what may be a temporary fix to the bigger of two really awful debacles that are facing the government right now, the need to borrow more money or face some impossible choices.


JACK LEW, U.S. SECRETARY OF TREASURY: I don't know how you could possibly choose between Social Security and veterans benefits, between Medicare and food assistance. These are obligations we've made. You know, we wouldn't have the money --