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How Will Trump's Health Chief Change Obamacare?; Interview with Representative Michael Burgess of Texas; Trump & First Amendment. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 30, 2016 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:04] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The prosecutor held a tape measure behind him, turned around and asked again how Walter Scott could have been threat to his life from that distance. They also showed the moment in the video where Walter Scott was actually shot and killed all with his family in the courtroom.

Scott's or rather Slager's testimony wrapped up yesterday and we're expecting closing arguments today -- Chris and Alisyn.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Boris, you know, at that distance, most training experts will tell you, the only thing you can do if someone has a gun on you from 18 feet away is obey command.

So, that's going to be a tough case for Slager, very controversial that he decided to go to trial.

Boris Sanchez, thank you very much.

The Trump pick for health secretary is in and this is going to have important implications. Congressman Tom Price is not new to the Obamacare fight, he's put out lots of plans. There's been controversy with him. Some of his ideas have been seen as extreme.

We're going to give you the information you need to know, next.


CUOMO: Donald Trump's pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department is Congressman Tom Price.

[06:35:00] He has been one of the biggest critics of Obamacare.

So, what does the Price plan do and what will happen to the millions who are relying on Obamacare for care?

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans has more.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: An orthopedic surgeon who hates Obamacare.

We have a blue print of what he would like to do. During his time in the House, Congressman Tom Price introduced the most recent legislation, the Empowering Patients First Act to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with this. Let's talk about this. Tax credits -- refundable tax credits to those

who buy policies on the individual market. Credits adjusted by age. This would help people who don't qualify for the current Obamacare federal subsidies because they make too much money. But in some cases, the Obamacare subsidies offer bigger savings.

Another big difference, there is no substitute in this plan for the Medicaid expansion, which helps some of the poorest Americans get insurance. And that's troubling to health care economists and progressives.

OK. Another piece here, Price does want to expand health savings accounts. Those allow those with high deductible plans to make contributions for their health care cost, and provide a $1,000 one- time tax credit for contributions and increase the amount people can sock away in savings.

However, HCAs are mainly used you guys by wealthier Americans who have funds to set aside, a health savings fund. You have to have money, expendable money to set aside. So, again, some people think that is a risk for the poor people, people with less money.

All right. Another change from Obamacare. High-risk pools for the sick. Prices plan would require insurers to cover those with pre- existing conditions as long as they maintain their coverage. He would add a billion dollars in their annually over three years to fund this.

High-risk pools, you guys, largely were shut down with Obamacare launched. Prior to that, some states lost a lot of money. Roughly half of their operating cost had to be subsidized.

So, the big thing is here is that conservatives say, look, this used conservative principle, something like this. But progressives and health care economists say they are afraid that the state expansion isn't there and they're worried about tax credits. People who don't have money in the first place, how are they going to pay their premiums?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Thanks so much for breaking all that down for us.

So, right now, we want to bring in Congressman Michael Burgess. He is a Republican from Texas who is in subcommittee on health. He was an OB/GYN before going to Congress.

Good morning, Congressman

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.

CAMEROTA: Tell us about your colleague, Congressman Price, and how you think he will set about trying to change Obamacare -- as you just heard Christine say, he hates.

BURGESS: Well, let's -- first off, Tom Price the individual that I've known now for over ten years during our co-tenure in Congress. There has been no person on either side of dais who has spoken out more eloquently in favor of the patient, that we have to keep the patient at the center of whatever decisions are made. It's not about the doctor, it's not about the hospital, it's not about the federal agency or the insurance company. Ultimately, it's about the patient and their family who are seeking care and seeking to have a problem either maintained or solved.

So, a lot of the stuff you talked about in the lead-in, actually, that does not happen at the level of the federal agency. We still do have Article One and Article Two of the Constitution. The legislative changes that occur will occur in the House of Representatives and the committees with jurisdiction and the committees of jurisdiction over in the Senate.

So, there's a lot of work yet to be done. Some budgetary items that may occur quickly at the onset of the Trump administration will deal with reconciliation and putting an end date on some of the policies of the Affordable Care Act. But all of that is not up to the agency, it's up to the legislative branch.

And the good news here, there's a lot of us and there's a lot of us here with a lot of ideas, both Democrats and Republicans. So, there will be ample time to hear those ideas, vet those ideas and for people to scrutinize those ideas before they become law, unlike what happened with the Affordable Care Act that Dr. Price correctly identified as a problem as it was coming down the pipe.

CAMEROTA: So, let's talk about wt this means for real people out there who are worried about their insurance. Some of the things that Mr. Trump said that he liked and wanted to preserve in Obama care and we know from polls that these are very important to people are keeping the coverage of preconditions. People can still be eligible, you can still get insurance if they have preconditions and keeping children 26 years old and under on their parents' plan.

If you take away the mandate whereby everybody has to buy in, how do you pay for those things?

BURGESS: Wait a minute, those are all separate and need to be considered individually.

Kids on the parents plan until age 26. If you remember back until age 2012 when we thought the Supreme Court was going to pull the rug out from under Obamacare until they didn't, but the insurance companies stepped up and said, you know what, this is a good marketing strategy, this will not go away if the Supreme Court repeals or that the Supreme Court says Obamacare is unconstitutional.

[06:40:05] The individual mandate -- really, there is nothing more onerous in my opinion and I'm speaking for myself and not for the administration. And a free society, you should not have the government requiring you to buy something and then saying we're going to regulate what we required you to buy under the commerce clause. That stuff is nuts.

Here's the other thing and people, of course, I hear this everywhere I go when people find out I'm a physician and I'm a member of Congress. The next thing that they say is, I simply can't afford this any more.

And Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton of all people identified that this is a crazy system. You're paying twice as much in premiums, you're getting half the coverage. No sane person believes we can just leave this alone and say, there, there Obamacare is settled law and requires no change.

Now, the Trump administration to their credit has tasked the House and the Senate saying, get us something to put a date certain by which something new is going to be in place. And then it will be up to the legislative branch to write that law.

CAMEROTA: I want to quickly ask you about another thing where the president-elect and Congressman Price may have some difference and that's Medicare. Congressman Price wants to change it, what Democrats say is that he wants to, quote, "privatize" it. Donald Trump on "60 Minutes" after he was elected said you can't get rid of Medicare, quote, "it works."

How is that going to work?

BURGESS: Well, obviously, there's going to be some discussions that go on at the level of the administration.

Again, I go back to the concept, nothing is actually -- well, under President Obama, we had the phone and the pen, and we all know how that has worked out for people.

But, again, these changes would be legislative changes. They're not going to occur as a fiat from the White House or a rule change at the Department of Health and Human Services. And I do know one of the things -- you know, I hear about this every day, patients as well, home health providers and nurses, that the rules and regulations coming out of the Department of Health and Human Services are fast and furious, to coin a phrase.

That's what's going to stop. That's the difference that people are going to see immediately with Tom Price as the secretary of Health and Human Services. I will just say this, it is going to be a new day in America and I think people are going to welcome it.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Burgess, thank you very much for your perspective and previewing all of this with us.

BURGESS: Thank you.

CAMEROT: Let's go to Chris.

CUOMO: Always nice when people use the name of the show in their comment. Always good.

So, who is in and who is out? We're talking about the college football playoff picture. The final rankings before selection Sunday. We got them in the "Bleacher Report".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:46:14] CUOMO: The new college football playoff rankings are out. Who's in the top four and who is he outside looking in.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Tell it.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, your Yale Bulldogs didn't make it, but they did beat Harvard. So, that's a good thing.

College football fans can debate all day long who should be in that coveted top four. And that's part of the fun, right?

Well, let's check it out. After their double overtime loss to rival Ohio State, Michigan currently out of the playoff. Knocked down to number five. And undefeated Bama still holding that top spot. Ohio State stays in at number two and Clemson number three.

But check out the PAC-12 making an appearance. Washington Huskies at number four. Can they stay there, though? That's the question after conference championship games this weekend. They will play number eight, Colorado, in a big matchup in the PAC-12.

Now, Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State all still with a chance. The final rankings will be released Sunday at noon. Big stuff coming.

And we all know Tom Brady. He's one of the greatest passers of all time, but his blocking skills just so-so, like a seamstress. And that's being dangerous. But Tom Brady will even tell you so himself.

Check out this video he posted making fun of his fierce blocking skills.


WIRE: Now, Alisyn, if Tom Brady running like a drunken Cuomo towards Chris Cuomo's Jets, get your morning started, I don't know what will.

CAMEROTA: Wait a minute. Tom Brady plays football. I thought he was just Gisele's husband. Enlightening for me.

CUOMO: Let me see the face coy wire would make if Tom Brady was running on him on the field for a block?

WIRE: That's the thing I don't understand, Chris. The Jets didn't even touch him. When a quarterback is coming at you, you're taught, go get him.

CUOMO: That's why the Jets are where they are, in the sewer. Thanks, again.

CAMEROTA: Coy, thank you for that fun this morning.

WIRE: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right. So, President-elect Trump's tweet about flag burning raised concerns about where he stands on constitutional rights and freedom of speech. That's next.


[06:52:52] CUOMO: The truth behind the tweets. President-elect Donald Trump calling for punishment for flag burners, stripping them of U.S. citizenship, jail time. Of course, it's unconstitutional, but it's about what Trump wants.

CAMEROTA: It's constitutional.

CUOMO: It's unconstitutional to punish someone for burning the flag. It's constitutional to burn the flag. Of course, we don't like it, but free speech is protecting what you don't like, or at least it was.

Let's discuss what the implications are from what we see the president-elect wanting to do in this area with CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN media analyst and author of "The War for Late Night", Bill Carter.

First, the law and then the ethics of the situation.

The law clear when it comes to flag burning, just because we don't like it. '69, '89, it's been ratified many times in the Supreme Court. But it goes to the window of what Trump sees the First Amendment as in terms of what to protect and not to protect. How so?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the, I mean, you know, you went to Donald Trump rally one of the highlights was always when he would point to the media and say they're scum. They're dishonest. They're horrible.

And the way I interpret that is he thinks the media is scum and dishonest and horrible. I mean, I think there is genuine distaste.

Now, the question is, is that just his opinion? Which, of course, he is free to have. Or will that have implications in how the law is administered in this country?


TOOBIN: I don't think we know the answer to that at this point. Certainly in terms of press access, he does appear to be heading towards cutting back on press pools and, you know, sort of the White House operation.

CUOMO: Hasn't given a press conference since he won. Hasn't done news interviews with any regularity.

TOOBIN: That is certainly within his rights as president and, you know, he's riding a height of popularity now as all presidents are when they win. The question is, when he gets in the White House and every White House is embattle to a certain extent, how he will react.

[06:55:01] Will he reach out and try to get in front of the public more or will he close the doors even further? CAMEROTA: Right. So, that's what we're trying to figure out. Any

one tweet, you know, his supporters say that we take this stuff way too literally and there's all this human cry about one flag burning tweet that's apropos of very little and we all, you know, gallop off to freak out about it.

But if you look at the sum total of what he has said --

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: This is consistent message.

CAMEROTA: And it's worrisome.

CARTER: It is.

CAMEROTA: Let me remind people of what he said about libel laws. During the campaign when he didn't like some of the coverage of him, here's what he threatened. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: One of the things I'm going to do is I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.


CAMEROTA: OK. So, hard to know now what he will do in the White House. But that was certainly a shot across.

CARTER: Right. And a lot of this is about, you know, completely getting rid of dissent. He doesn't want dissent. He doesn't react very well to dissent.

And a lot of the tweets that he sends out are an instant reaction to some criticism about him. That's really what this broad purpose is. He doesn't like people setting fire to the flag because they are protesting him.

He doesn't mind if someone stands up and says, Sieg Heil enough to complain about that. That's equally protected speech, but equally despicable and he isn't going after that because it's not criticizing him.

I think it's basically his nature to be thin-skinned and he reacts and, frankly, the president, when he's the president, everything he says has an impact. You can't tweet out something as a president and say, I'm just kidding around about it.

CAMEROTA: Words matter.

CARTER: His words matter.

CUOMO: Also works against him, also, because an as insurgent and as a private citizen, you can attack the laws as the other, the system. Now he is going to be the steward of it. So, not only is it wrong to say I'm going to redo the libel laws

because obviously the president doesn't do that, but -- or can he have Kellyanne Conway threaten to sue his critics. Be careful what you say because they don't understand the president of the United States has open and unlimited access for critics. You can come at him all day and not be sued for defamation.

So, he doesn't understand the law and he doesn't understand that he's a steward of how you do things in America to keep it open and free. That's the concern.

TOOBIN: That is the concern. But I also think, you know, he is tapping into feelings that a lot of people share in this country. That, you know, the media is a juicy target for him because, you know, we think of ourselves as steward of, you know, the Constitution. We think of ourselves as the representatives of the public.

A lot of the public doesn't see us that way. They see us as an insulated elite that pursues our own interest as opposed to the public interest. And when he attacks the press and when he attacks the cast of "Hamilton" or the people who are protesting in Portland, he is tapping into feelings that a lot of people share.

CAMEROTA: Right. But it's Orwellian to think that, OK, so, get rid of the media. Get rid of the free press. Then our problems will be solved. But then --

CUOMO: Well, his will go a long way in the right direction.

CAMEROTA: I mean, but we just need to remember we are the watchdogs of government at our best when we do it right and if you have a straight filter from the White House to the people, well, that's called North Korea.

TOOBIN: That's true. And, you know, I think we are a long way from North Korea at this point.

CAMEROTA: I understand.

TOOBIN: And we will remain and I think we're likely to remain that way.

But the question I have is, you know, his opinions are, you know, he's perfectly entitled to his hostile opinions. The question is, once he becomes president, what can he do to really impact --


CARTER: He can't change the Constitution to make it a crime and he can't.

TOOBIN: He can't appoint judges who are less interested.

And one of the things that even this polarized Supreme Court is pretty unified about is protections for the First Amendment. You know, the Westboro Baptist Church, this horrible church, that protested, you know, at funerals, their rights were protected in an 8-1 decision. I mean, it's really bipartisan First Amendment rule in this country.

CARTER: And what the conservatives, they always talk about originalists and they want to protect the Constitution and this sounds like something that undermines the Constitution.

TOOBIN: They also --


CUOMO: Remember, one of the big reasons for the first amendment in this and all of the discussion about it in the amendments was dissent against government because they were worried about a tyrannical government.

CARTER: That's right.

CUOMO: And trying to seal opinion. The irony that we're hearing from Trump today.

Gentlemen, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

We're following a lot of news this morning. There were some important weather information to get you. Let's get right to it.