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Report: WH, Senators Plot Major Changes to GOP Health Plan; Tillerson Tours Asia; Health Bill May Not Pass Senate. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 15, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] SUNLEN SURFATY, CNN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You have a Republican senator today calling that pure fantasy.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Graham calling it a fantasy. Sunlen thank you very much. Let's have a bigger explanation, I have financial expert and former Wall Street executive Alexis Glick with me, and Tevi Troy, the president of American Health Policy Institute who also served once upon a time, the deputy secretary of health and human services, great to have both of you on. Alexis, the smart business woman you know a thing or two about negotiating the middle ground. Where's the ground between speaker Paul Ryan's house version of this thing and really conservative folks on the right?

ALEXIS GLICK, BUSINESS ANALYST: The middle ground is absolutely going to have to be a change on the Medicaid provision. Arguably, if I look at affordable care and this health care provision, really what it comes down to is what they're willing to rebate back to the states in these grants is not nearly enough. During the affordable care act 31 states and the District of Columbia opted and got federal funds to support the federal growth of Medicaid. We have 16 Republican governors. They do not want to see those entitlements to low income Americans to be taken away, so number one they're going to have to change what is the grant block at the federal level to those states right now it would increase in inflation right to 20.

And the second issue is that the hardest hit is the elderly American right now. The provision actually suggests they could pay five times the rate of a younger person. In the affordable care act that was three times a younger healthier person, so AARP keep in mind they represent 37 million Americans, this baby boomer generation you can't get anything passed without their endorsement and right now this is shifting all of the cost on the state to elderly and arguably it's going to disadvantage the low-income Medicaid recipient many of which the folks who voted for President Trump.

BALDWIN: Every action or change there's a mega reaction. And to Alexis's point on this Medicaid issue and red states working class voters who voted for President Trump. They're the ones who will get affected. What do you think?

TEVI TROY, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Well, look, I don't think anybody should etch the text of the current reconciliation draft into stone tablets because we all know it's going to change, but think we saw some encouraging signs, it covers about 700 million Americans, the building block of the system, it lowers taxes, reduces spending, so those are the good side, on the difficult side are the coverage numbers which everybody acknowledges was a problem and I don't think surprised Republicans, but CBO numbers are useful to tell legislatures where they should be making improvements.

BALDWIN: What about the politics of all this. We know speaker Ryan doesn't want to budge and again the white house acknowledging this would need to be changed to get through the Senate. This is a radio interview with speaker Ryan just this morning.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We wrote this bill with our friends in the white house and the Senate.

REPORTER: Which friends in the white house? Which friends?

RYAN: Meaning the Trump people.

REPORTER: But which ones?

RYAN: The Trump white house, Tom Price, all those guys, the health care people. The point I'm saying, I talked to Reince and Bannon about this a number of times, we are all on the same page, absolutely, the President is bringing members to have our caucus down there saying we need you to the support this.

REPORTER: He doesn't want it to be called Trump-care, want it to be called Ryan-care.

RYAN: Well, we call it the American Health Care Act.


[15:35:00] BALDWIN: He says we're all on the same page, but are they?

TROY: Well, I think there's a grand or broad strategy and we talked about the three-step process, one is passing a reconciliation process, number two is regulatory led by Dr. Price and the third phase there's a lot of skepticism because it has to pass through the 60-vote threshold, but is an overall broad strategy and I think within the leadership with the white house on the strategy.

BALDWIN: Ultimately what's at stake?

GLICK: If you look at what's at stake. The bill changed the ball game, because it's more an expectation that it's a right not a privilege to get access to health care. If you look at the CBO was the biggest tell. If you look how they assessed the affordable care act they were right on the numbers where they were wrong is on the participation rate. They thought there would be a higher participation on the private exchanges when in fact the biggest growth came from Medicaid. He's correct. There's going to be a robust negotiation process because there's no way it's going to go through this process, but there are things in here promising, you could save two times the rate of your health care savings, plans, kids up to 26 years old can still be on their parents' health care plan, if you have a preexisting condition you have coverage. So, there's certainly hope, but there are places needed to be changed to get it to that place.

BALDWIN: Yesterday, I had a Republicans on and he said this is just the opening act of a very long play. Thank you so much.

Coming up next, high stakes, diplomacy, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Asia, among growing tension with North Korea. And James Comey on Capitol Hill right now expected to meet any moment with Republican lawmakers. This is what one of those senators Chuck Grassley had to say about it.


CHUCK GRASSLEY, SENATOR, IOWA: This is a secured briefing as far as I know. If it isn't I'd be surprised and I'm not going to comment on anything coming out of a briefing because I'm not going try to decide what's classified and what's not classified because I don't want to go to jail.



BALDWIN: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on a tour of Asia that has massive implications that is ripe for tension right now, set to make stops in japan, china and a huge piece of this North Korea high on the list of diplomatic discussions given the recent missile launch tests, Michelle Kosinski is with me from the state department. Laying the ground work, especially since we know that President xi will be visiting with President Trump.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: By one analyst this was called a perfect storm of tensions in Asia, so yes, he's going there, going to meet with President Xi on one of his stops as you said lay the ground work for building this relationship between Presidents but he's a big part of this administration so the discussions he's having at each stop first Japan, South Korea and lastly China are going to figure heavily how the entire region and beyond that the world is going to deal with this looming threat of a nuclear North Korea.

There are a lot of differences of opinion and that's a big part of the challenge. China doesn't like the fact that the U.S. is working with other countries in the region to bill their defenses, china sees that as potentially a threat to themselves. The U.S. insists it's purely defensive but also wants to work with china against the North Korea threat and to do more to put pressure on North Korea, so on his first trip over there is not expected to come back with major announcement but expected to look at new ways to try to tackle this threat which is very big and getting bigger.

BALDWIN: Thank you very much, his first stop Beijing. Breaking news live pictures of Capitol Hill waiting for FBI director James Comey's meeting with Republican lawmakers on The Hill, looking for answers, there's an investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign? Back in a moment.


BALDWIN: Tonight, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash will be moderating a town hall. There are many questions about the repeal and replace Obamacare, make sure you tune in to Secretary Price at 9:00 this evening. A lot of Americans are getting insurance through their jobs and dr. Sanjay Gupta explains the impact on them if this repeal bill does in fact become law.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The story you are about to hear is a typical one. Three three-year-old Valerie Daniel does all the things a typical mom does, Valerie like 117 million Americans suffers are Crohn's disease.

VALERIE DANIEL, VICTIM OF CROHN'S DISEASE: When I have flare-ups, I am really, really sick, I am confined to the bed a lot either because of weakness or pain.

[15:50:00] GUPTA: Like many Americans, Valerie has insurer based insurance. Without insurance, it could cost about $20,000. Are you worried about the repeal and the impact it could have?

DANIEL: I'm nervous and about the future and exactly what it's going to be voted on. What are they going to keep? What are they doing to do for people like me?

GUPTA: First, the good news under the proposed health care act here is what they're keeping, people like Valerie can't be discriminated against for having a preexisting condition, a lifetime ban on annual caps and kids can stay on their parents' plans until 26. The down sides, employers with more than 50 employees no longer have to provide insurance so getting covered through her husband's work may no longer be a given. And also, the new bill will incentivize all Americans to get coverage. -- preventing buying only after they get sick or injured but Valerie has known how difficult it is to keep insurance especially if you're out of work.

DANIEL: There was about a three-month period where he was not employed and we were told that we had no choice juror we had pay for cobra because of my preexisting condition. That if there was even a little bit of a lapse of coverage, that then I would not be allowed to covered.

Under the new bill, a lapse in coverage of more than 63 days means that if you try to buy insurance on the individual market you're going to have to pay an additional 30 percent tax on your premium if you try and enroll again for the remainder of the year. And it's not just the 63 days from the time you lose your job, but any time you have a gap in coverage of 63 days in the past year at the time of enrollment.

GUPTA: When you go to COBRA because your husband was not employed any more, how much of that raise your premiums at that point?

DANIEL: The price of COBRA was over $900 a month. So, we had no choice but to reach out to family to help pay for that.

GUPTA: Consider the fact that most people are unemployed for ten weeks before they find a new job. That's 70 days. And when people are unemployed, just getting by paying bills like their mortgage can be difficult, let alone paying an insurance premium on top of all that. When you look at our health insurance industry overall now, what grade would you give our health insurance system?

DANIELS: I would probably say about a C.


DANIELS: Maybe a B minus.

GUPTA: Of course, she's really hoping the final replacement plan will be an a-grade for her. And the rest of America.


BALDWIN: Okay, Sanjay, C is not good enough, C or B minus, she has the employer-based health insurance thanks to her husband. What happens if the bill becomes law and people like her would lose it?

GUPTA: Well, there's going to be a certain percentage of the population who will no longer be able to get insurance through their employer and it's an important point because we're mainly focused on people who get it through Medicaid or the exchanges. There are people who, because of no mandates on businesses to provide insurance for some size businesses, people may lose their employer-based coverage as well. And -- or they may not have the same protections. They may have a plan still, but the plan is not as good. It doesn't offer them the same level of care they're used to right now. 117 million people have chronic illness in this country, Brooke. If you're not using t health care system, you don't think about this issue. For them, it's all they think about. If their insurance isn't as good, it's a problem. They might be underinsured or uninsured completely depending on what happens.

BALDWIN: It's nice to hear from a doctor. We'll listen to you tonight before the big town hall with wolf and dana. That's at 9:00. We'll look for you after. Thanks so much.

Once again Health and Human Services Tom Price will be answering questions this evening for this town hall here on CNN at 9:00 eastern. Look for Wolf and Dana to moderate. And just moments from now, speaker of the house Paul Ryan sits down for a one on one with CNN's Jake Tapper. But first this.


REPORTER: That's the best exercise for your heart? Just about anything that gets your heart racing.

DOCTOR JONATHAN KIM, EMORY EXERCISE CARDIOLOGIST: Aerobic I can exercise, endurance type exercises, running, cycling, swimming. REPORTER: If you're in good shape, go for the gold. New research

suggests there is a way to maximize heart benefits and cut your standard workout by more than half.

KIM: Interval training is a more strenuous type of exercise. Some people call it high intensity interval training.

[15:55:00] REPORTER: In short bursts in your workout. Older, in pain or just getting off the couch? Try 30 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking, biking, slow dancing five times a week.

KIM: We know exercise is medicine. Has numerous health benefits. Cardiac physiology as well as psychological health. Everybody benefits from exercise.




RAND PAUL, SENATOR, KENTUCKY: You know what they're saying? You know what they're telling us? They're telling us that you campaigned for Obamacare-lite and that you want partial repeal. This bill is riddled from top to bottom with problems. You need to tell them you want them to stand firm. You want to bring down the Paul Ryan plan. And then what we want is freedom. We want to be free of Obamacare completely.


BALDWIN: There he was, Senator Rand Paul speaking this afternoon, calling on Republicans to, quote, bring down the Paul Ryan plan. How will speaker Ryan respond? You get to find out moments from now in a one on one interview with Jake Tapper. Do not go anywhere. We're going to send it to Washington early just for this. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. "The Lead" starts now.