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President Trump to Meet with British PM Tomorrow; Michigan Sees High Medicaid Expansion Enrolment; Interview with Rep. Greg Walden. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired January 26, 2017 - 16:30   ET



[16:30:54] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The world lead now, it's been called the, quote, "special relationship", the seemingly unbreakable bond between United States and critical ally across the pond, the U.K. For decades, the American president and the British prime minister have been the closest of friends, even good friends.

There was President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher. President George W. Bush and his counterpart Tony Blair. President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, to say nothing of Winston Churchill and FDR.

Will President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May follow that lead? Tomorrow, they will meet for the first time. But in the age of Brexit and this "America first" foreign policy in which Trump has criticized the NATO alliance, the question is, of course, will this strategic partnership change?

Joining me now here in Washington is CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.

Nic, welcome.

Prime Minister May just finished addressing Republican congressmen and senators in Philadelphia. What did she have to say?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think how she said it is how this is going to be remembered, certainly in Britain. I mean, this was a speech, I think, Theresa May sometime gets in front of the camera, she's a little timid, a little sly, she's a little slow to start, but she knocked this out of the park. She did what she needed to do.

She was strong. She was confident. She gave a very clear message and she did what she said she would do when she came into this, is she would be a friend to the United States, but not afraid to say the tough things. This is how she put it.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: America can be stronger, greater and more confident in the years ahead.


And a newly emboldened confident America is good for the world. An America that is strong and prosperous at home is a nation that can lead abroad. But you cannot and should not do so alone. You have said that it is time for others to step up, and I agree. This is something Britain has always understood.


ROBERTSON: So, that was it. That was the tough statement where she, a Brit, walks into the United States and says, "Hey, you cannot go alone. You need allies, you need friends." She wants to show that she can stand up and be that tough person.

She talked about the U.N., about NATO. A lot of issues that she's under pressure from, in Europe and in the U.K., so that she had to address here. She did that.

TAPPER: Firm statement of support for NATO, firm statement of support for the United Nations, both of which Donald Trump has criticized very much. And she also spoke about President Trump's approach to Vladimir Putin. What did she have to say?

ROBERTSON: I think this again was one of those places where she actually knocked the ball out of the park. She raised President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Both times she did that, the crowd really gave some of the strongest applause. And on this one, she said, don't let President Putin take back what Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan did, which was freeing the center and the east of Europe. Don't let him reclaim those for himself.

And this has been an important message. Yes, engage with Russia, but be cautious and that's the message she wanted to deliver.

TAPPER: In Reagan's words, trust but verify, she said. And tell us what she's going to bring up on the agenda when she meets President Trump tomorrow for the first time ever.

ROBERTSON: You know, the idea would be that she just rehashes what we heard here. The reality is that the key for her is the idea of getting an agreement to speed through a trade deal for Britain that improves Britain's business opportunities with the United States, a two-way street, so that when Britain leaves the European Union, it can get a quick trade agreement. And this is something that if she gets that type of commitment from President Trump when her negotiators go into the European Union in a few months' time to negotiate the deal, they've got some steel, they've got some resolve behind their back, because they know they've got the United States at their back and that was key. That's what she wanted to communicate across the board to the Republicans today.

TAPPER: All right. Nic Robertson following around British Prime Minister Theresa May. Thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it. Repeal and replace, that is what the GOP was planning to do to

Obamacare. But in one state that President Trump won, there is a key part the Republican governor is fighting to keep. That story next.


[16:39:17] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Today's national lead -- Republican members of Congress are at their retreat in Philadelphia. And much of the talk is about the next steps for Obamacare, for repealing and replacing it.

Right outside their meeting, protesters are demonstrating against their plans to repeal the health care law. But some Republicans are also skeptical of a complete repeal at least. Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Scott wants to keep his state's medication expansion alive after seeing some unexpectedly positive results.

Let's bring in CNN's Jessica Schneider.

And, Jessica, you talk to people in Michigan who are scared what's next and they back what the governor is saying.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, they're optimistic that Medicaid expansion will, in fact, be saved. But Governor Schneider is in a tough spot. He's a Republican who did not endorse Donald Trump as a candidate and now, he's pushing to actually save federal funding for part of Obamacare.

[16:40:04] It is bound to be a tough sell on Capitol Hill. But the people I spoke with after the governor's handling of the Flint water crisis, this is a battle he better not lose.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Jia Ireland has spent all of her 24 years in Flint, Michigan. And it hasn't been without struggle. She suffered through the water crisis, is putting herself through school at the University of Michigan campus here while working part time, and learned to live without health insurance when her mom lost her job in 2012.

JIA IRELAND, MEDICAID EXPANSIOIN RECIPIENT: That's when it became like, wow, you know, we don't have anything.

SCHNEIDER: But three years ago, the state of Michigan threw her and thousands more a life line. Under the Affordable Care Act, Republican Governor Rick Snyder opted to expand the pool of people eligible for Medicaid in a program called Healthy Michigan. It opened up to people ages 19 to 64 for individuals earning $16,000 or less and families earning $33,000 or less per year.

Suddenly, it wasn't just people at or below the poverty level who could enroll in Medicaid. And despite the Supreme Court's ruling that states weren't bound to take part, 16 states that have taken the expansion have Republican governors. GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: It wasn't the generic expansion. We

actually added requirements for personal responsibility and wellness on the front end.

SCHNEIDER: Governor Snyder is now fighting to keep federal funding for the expansion. Since launching the program in 2014, more than 600,000 people have enrolled in Healthy Michigan, far surpassing the expected enrollment of 470,000.

Snyder, along with nine other governors, met with the Senate Finance Committee one day before Trump's inauguration. He says Michigan has experienced a 44 percent drop in uncompensated care days at hospitals statewide, illustrating the importance of the program.

(on camera): You're seeing the savings here in Michigan. But will that translate down in Washington when they're deciding how to dole out the dollars?

SNYDER: This is the best case I've ever seen in terms of Congress wanting to listen, and actually have a positive dialogue with the states.

SCHNEIDER: You didn't endorse Donald Trump. Do you worry that that may bode unfavorably for you and hence the residents of Michigan?

SNYDER: I haven't seen indications of that.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Snyder says he has not spoken to the president.

ROBIN MEAD, MEDICAID EXPANSIOIN RECIPIENT: I was working 65 hours a week and barely making ends meet as it was.

SCHNEIDER: But for people like Robin Mead who had lifesaving surgery thanks to Michigan.

MEAD: Getting the insurance approved is definitely what made me have the surgery, and that's really the reason I'm still here today.

SCHNEIDER: It means her three children don't have to live without their mother.

IRELAND: We needed it especially in Flint.

SCHNEIDER: Jia Ireland graduates in April when she hopes to get a job that offers health insurance. But in the meantime, she's looking to Governor Snyder to save the expansion.

IRELAND: It does show that he has some sense of humanity and cares.


SCHNEIDER: President Trump's senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said this week that the White House is entertaining the idea of converting federal funds for Medicaid into block grants to the states. Right now, the government is actually funding 100 percent of Medicaid expansion costs.

Now, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, though, tells me he does not favor a block grant saying the government should be working with states to allow and encourage them to create programs that focus on accountability rather than just dollars and cents -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

Let's bring in Republican Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon. He's chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He joins us now from the Republican retreat in Philadelphia.

Congressman, good to see you. Thank you so much for being here.

REP. GREG WALDEN (R), OREGON: It's good to be with you. Happy to join you.

TAPPER: What do you say to Governor Snyder, a Republican, who wants those women we just heard from that piece to be able to keep the Medicaid expansion, the coverage they got through Obamacare? What is your message to them, what's the House Republican Caucus message to them and to Governor Snyder?

WALDEN: Well, it's interesting you ask that, Jake, because I was in that Senate Finance Committee meeting and participated, actually led it for a while. We asked for their input from the governors there. And then, in another meeting later in the day, we want to hear what's working from the states.

And the thing that we heard most from the states is they want the flexibility because they thought they could achieve savings, they could end up with a better health care program for their citizens, and they have to come to Washington now on bended knee to get waivers.

We want to -- we want to give them the money, we want to give them the authority, we will maintain responsibility so it's spent correctly, but we want to give them flexibility. Every governor in there asked for that. Give us flexibility, let us experiment.

Governor Snyder has done a great job. He's talked about that.

We want to see continuous coverage. We want it make sure that people with preexisting conditions continue to get covered. In fact, I'll introduce a bill next week that will provide and reaffirm that commitment from Republicans.

We've always believed that those up to 26 years old should be able to stay on their parents' health insurance. In fact, it was a Republican idea before the Democrats put it into ACA. We're going to reaffirm that as well.

So, you'll see us move forward -- confidently, unified way to create a system that works for all Americans, that will give them more choices at better prices.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: And then you know -- WALDEN: Right now, if you look at the individual market, it is

collapsing in a death spiral.


WALDEN: You look at the jump in premiums. I go out to my district in Oregon, Jake, you look at the premiums going up 25 percent, 50 percent in some states --

TAPPER: Right.

WALDEN: -- in individual market. And then look at the deductibles. You think about middle class Americans, 46 percent of them couldn't come up with $400 today.


WALDEN: How do they come up with 7,000 deductible? This is not working.

TAPPER: So, congressman, I know that -- I know that you know that the individual mandate was a republican idea first, too. But let me ask about this mandate --

WALDEN: The individual mandate? I don't --


WALDEN: Not mine.

TAPPER: No, not yours but the republicans. But let's move that - move aside from that. The Medicaid expansion, when you guys talk about -- when republicans in congress talk about a block grant, would that be a block grant for Medicaid including the Medicaid expansion, or would you go back to the original Medicaid and the women that we saw in that piece just there --

WALDEN: Well, Jake --

TAPPER: -- who got health care through the expansion?

WALDEN: Right.

TAPPER: They would no -- they would no longer have their Medicaid funded.

WALDEN: Yes. So, let's talk about that because not every state took the Medicaid expansion money. And clearly, this is an economic cost we've got to figure out as well. We'll spend more next year between state and federal funds for Medicaid alone than we spent in the entire defense budget for the country, and by the 10-year budget window, it will up -- be up to a trillion dollars a year on Medicaid alone. So, everybody knows we've got to figure out a better way to deliver health care to these people at a more affordable manner.

Now, there are options out there so that -- I know this story kind of locked in on one option and that was a block grant -- there are many other governors and other members of congress who think there is another way to do it, a per capita. So, each state gets something per person that would qualify. But what they really want is flexibility, so they can cover the people you're talking about in your story. It's that way, or some of them recommended for those that are 100 percent of poverty up to 138 percent, they say those might be better over on the health care exchange with a refundable -- advance refundable tax credit that would pay for their coverage or subsidize it over there, and they'd be off on insurance on that side. Some governors said that would take care of their population better than the current system.

The long and the short of this, we have a lot of great ideas here. We're coming together here in Philadelphia to hear from our colleagues, to hear from the Trump administration. We leave here with a good idea about where to go forward. You'll see our committee on energy and commerce move forward next week with hearings on specific pieces of legislation to begin to address the problems. By the way, one other thing out of Michigan, it was Michigan who came to us and said, "Can you do something about lottery winners who can win a million or $2 million and still stay on Medicaid the way the federal law is? Because the bureaucrats say you can't kick them off." We have waiting lists in America, Jake, for disabled and frail seniors to get on Medicaid. They've been supplanted by able bodied adults who have won lotteries. This makes no sense. These are things we're going to tackle.

TAPPER: All right. Congressman Greg Walden, you'll come back and talk about some of these other proposals that you're bringing before your committee next week. Thanks so much.

Coming up next --

WALDEN: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: -- concerns in several states about a growing number of mumps cases. And it isn't just children getting sick. Where the disease is on the rise, coming up.


[16:50:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. In our "HEALTH LEAD" today, the United States is seeing its biggest number of mumps cases in a decade. As of December 31st, there were more than 5300 cases of mumps in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Eight states -- Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas -- each had more than 100 cases, as of last month. Mumps could cause some serious complications, especially in adults. Complications such as deafness or inflammation of the brain or even death. So what is driving this spike in cases? CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is certainly a sizeable outbreak of mumps in Washington, 278 cases. Now, I know a lot of us parents are thinking, "Wait a second, I got my child vaccinated against the mumps," and indeed you did. Children routinely get doses when they're little. One when they're around one years old and then another dose when they're around four. But here's the problem, the immunity wanes. After about 10 years, those shots start to not work so well. And so, that's why in high school and in college, you sometimes see these outbreaks.

Now, there's not much they can do about that, mumps unfortunately is an imperfect vaccine. Some people have wondered, "Well, could we revaccinate? Could we do another shot? Let's say around 14 or 15 years old." The issue with that is that experts say, that's been tried and it hasn't worked out so well. But experts are still trying to work this out, still trying to figure out if there's anything that can be done because we see these outbreaks in high schools and colleges quite a bit.

Now, the reason why it happens is that mumps is often brought in from another country. In the United States, we routinely vaccinate against mumps but in other countries, they don't. So, all it takes is for someone to come in from another country who wasn't vaccinated and that can then spread the virus. Jake?

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

Six people were shot including a little girl and they were attending a vigil for a homicide victim in Chicago. So, how are Chicago officials responding to President Trump's threat to send in the feds if the carnage is not fixed? That story next.


[16:55:00] TAPPER: A reminder that the president's top aide just told The New York Times that the press should keep its mouth shut.

No. We're back with our "NATIONAL LEAD" now. More violence in Chicago, just hours after President Trump's skating criticism, six people including a 12-year-old girl were shot at, at a vigil for a gun homicide victim last night. The girl suffered a wound to the head. She's now in stable condition. Chicago registered more shootings and homicides last year than in any other U.S. city, according to the FBI and Chicago police. Now, this incident came just one day after President Trump threatened federal intervention if what he called the "carnage" in Chicago does not stop. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner responded in a radio interview saying that the new administration has not contacted him about violence in its biggest city.

Turning to our "MONEY LEAD", American Airlines has a new message for passengers on its brand-new jets, BYOS, bring your own screen. That's because it's new Boeing 737 MAX jets will not have movie screens for the in-flight entertainment. Why? Well, because they say 90 percent of passengers already have their own screen with them, a smartphone or a tablet. As nothing in life is free, if you want to surf the web, you will still have to pay. The passengers will have access to some of its live T.V. channels and story T.V. episodes.

Less than two weeks into the Donald Trump presidency, CNN will be hosting a town hall with the House Minority Leader Democrat Nancy Pelosi. She will field questions from audience members across -- from across the country. What is the democratic strategy in the Trump era? I'll moderate. That's Tuesday night, 9:00 pm, right here in CNN. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'll turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". He also is not going to keep his mouth shut.