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Health Bill Faces Uphill Battle in Senate; Bad Blood Boils Over Between Celtics and Wizards. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired May 5, 2017 - 05:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: On to the Senate now. The Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare faces a steep climb in the upper chamber.

[05:00:02] We'll look at what's in the bill, what's not, and whether it can ultimately pass the Senate.

There are dozens and dozens of questions about what did pass the House.


BRIGGS: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. We could fill the next hour on questions about health care looking like.

BRIGGS: We probably will.

ROMANS: Because we don't know.

BRIGGS: It's Friday. It's May 5th, Cinco de Mayo. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. Nice to see you this morning.

This morning, the battle to repeal and replace Obamacare begins anew now in the Senate. Now, conservative and moderate Republicans will try to forge a compromise that will get them to 51 votes, that's no small task given that there are only 52 Republicans in the Senate.

The open question: how much of the newly passed House bill, including last-minute changes to pre-existing conditions, how much will end up in the Senate version?

Senators warn some parts may not fit under budget reconciliation rules that allow them to pass a bill with just 51 votes, not 60.

Despite the obstacles ahead, President Trump declaring his optimism overnight.


TRUMP: I think we'll get it through. The Republicans are very united, like seldom before. I mean, you see that today. The Republicans came together, all of a sudden, two days ago, and it was like magic. They're very, very united. You saw that today, and you'll see it again.


BRIGGS: The bill is stacked with many, many changes to the entire health care system, and, Christine, we will go on and on about what this bill does to change the health care debate.

But we will start with Sunlen Serfaty who kind of breaks down where this debate goes from here.



Well, House Republicans and have been promising and campaigning on repealing and replacing Obamacare for the last seven years, so this is certainly a significant legislative win for them, but to note, this a short-term victory. There still is a lot of work to do, and the battle now heads over to the Senate, where they will take up this bill for consideration.

And that's something that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spoke about and alluded to when he was celebrating this win in the Rose Garden with President Trump.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Today was a big day, but it is just one step in this process, an important step. We still have a lot of work to do to get this signed into law. And I know that our friends over in the Senate are eager to get to work.


They are. We're going to see that work through. You know why we're going to see this work through? Because the issues are just too important, the stakes are just too high.

SERFATY: And as the Senate now gets started on their piece of the work in all this, many Senate Republicans are already expressing concern, not only of the process of how the bill got over to them, the fact that it wasn't scored by the CBO, the fact that many of them felt it was rushed, but also about the policy of this. Many senators describing the House bill as just a starter piece, a skeleton.

So, that's the big question now -- how much of the House bill will the Senate actually keep? Very clear they are setting themselves up to make significant potentially dramatic changes -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Both the policy and the politics, the great unknown. Sunlen, thank you.

Only step one in an uphill battle over repeal and replace, but the House vote on Thursday did represent the first major legislative win for President Trump. So, he decided to celebrate, Mr. Trump marking the occasion by taking a victory lap back home in New York City for a shipboard event with the Australian prime minister.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more from the USS Intrepid.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, President Trump came back to New York last night with a spring in his step after the House passed his version of the health care bill. Of course, he talked about it before leaving Washington. He was delayed coming to New York City to meet with the prime minister of Australia.

When he did sit down with him, he had health care on his mind.

TRUMP: Could change a little bit, could get maybe even better. It's a very good bill right now. The premiums are going to come down very substantially. The deductibles are going to come down. It's going to be fantastic health care.

Right now, Obamacare is failing. We have a failing health care.

ZELENY: The president and the prime minister were at a black tie dinner, but it is clear that domestic politics front and center for President Trump. They believe they need to carry this momentum from the health care bill, though without question, a legislative victory for President Trump, something that eluded him in the first 100 days. He got it in the second week after that -- Christine and Dave.


ROMANS: All right. Second or third inning, Jeff Zeleny says we are in this, though, because there is a lot more work to do.

Republican lawmakers say the bill will lower costs and critics say millions could be facing higher bills or uninsured. There are always winners and losers, and this is big legislation, talk being a fifth of the American economy here.

So, who does the GOP bill help? Younger Americans would save under this. They helped pay for older people under Obamacare. They shared the risk, right? Now, not sharing the risk so much. So, their premiums shrink up to $4,000 a year.

The healthy would pay less. States can offer cheaper plans if they waive coverage for things like maternity benefits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and the rich get a tax cut.

[05:05:07] The bill repeals two high income taxes used to pay for Obamacare.

If that's who benefits, who's the hardest hit? It's mainly older, low-income Americans, Trump's base. Many Obamacare provisions that helped lower income Americans simply disappear, like the subsidies. Those making $20,000 at any age would see less money under the new tax credits. $5,900 less tax credits for 60-year-olds.

In fact, adults in their 60s could see premiums go up 20 percent. That's what AARP said. That's why they're calling this an age tax.

Older Americans could pay five times as much as younger policyholders. New bill also dents Medicaid. Not only does it ends the planned expansion, but it cuts the current amount of federal support but also hurts low income children, the disabled and senior citizens just proportionately.

And, finally, those with pre-existing conditions could be charged more or lose coverage entirely. States don't have to guarantee that insurers cover everyone. Critics say the GOP replacement of high risk pools doesn't have enough funding. GOP has set aside $138 billion total to offset the cost of the bill.

A lot of questions on what of that the Senate even keeps.

BRIGGS: My head hurts. So, let's bring in CNN political analyst Josh Rogin, one of our favorites. And Josh --

ROMANS: Hey, Josh.


BRIGGS: Good luck to you, columnist from the "Washington Post."

All right. Let's start with the two sides of this debate and try to get to the middle of it. Here's Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi on essentially what they think this House bill means for the future of health care in the United States.


RYAN: We have to repeal this law and put in place a real vibrant marketplace with competition and lower premiums for families. That's what the American Health Care Act is all about. It makes health care more affordable.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: You're paying more for less, and we'll make sure that the public is aware of that. I think they walk the plank. Their desire to give a tax break for the rich just trumped everything.


BRIGGS: All right, Josh, we'll get to the politics in a moment, but the policy. Republicans say -- you heard it there -- lower premiums, more competition. You know how Democrats are framing this, worse care, tax cut for the rich. What's the reality? ROGIN: I mean, the reality here is that it shifts the basic bargain

that was struck in Obamacare, which was basically that young and healthy people pay more to support old and sick people. Now, what's kind of ironic about that is that the young, wealthy, healthy people are typically considered to vote Democrat, and the old, sick, poor people are more the people that typically support Republicans, are the Trump supporters.

So, it seems that both of the parties are sort of arguing for people who are not their typical base. So, that's why the politics are kind of confused here.

But as for the policy goes, you know, it's just basically takes the government out of many of the sort of parts of Obamacare that it was involved in --

ROMANS: And that's the philosophy --

ROGIN: -- and places it more on these individuals.

ROMANS: And that's the philosophy that has been the Republican philosophy for a long time, one of the things they hated about Obamacare was government control of your health care.

BRIGGS: Versus patient focused is their narrative.

ROMANS: Right. So, when you hear the CBO estimates of 24 million people without health insurance, you know, there are some Republicans who say, right, because they don't want to have insurance, and you shouldn't be forced to do that. It's a totally different world view here.

ROGIN: Right, and it essentially takes us a lot back to where we were before Obamacare was ever a thing. And, OK, if that's what you want, then that may be what you get, but then that gets us back to what were the problems that made everybody want a health care solution in the first place? In other words, people are still likely to have emergencies, right?

ROMANS: Right.

ROGIN: People are still likely to have babies. People are still going to get old and sick.

So, if you want to go back to that system, and it seems that that's what Republicans want to do, those burdens will still be there and we'll still pay for them as a society in some way or form, the argument goes. So, yes, it's a return to where we were, but the risk is that we put ourselves back with the same problems that we always had.

BRIGGS: One of the problems we have now with Obamacare is insurers fleeing the market.

ROMANS: Right. BRIGGS: We heard about Aetna in Virginia, we heard about Iowa, your

home state, could have no insurer for basically the majority of the state. But if there's one thing that really haunted President Obama, it was that promise -- if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period.

What's that promise that could end up hurting Republicans in the end?

ROGIN: Well, the promise is that, you know, the promise that's really going to hurt them in the end is the promise that people won't be kicked off their plans for pre-existing conditions.

ROMANS: Right.

ROGIN: That's the one. That's the one the Senate is grappling with. That's the one that this $8 billion last-minute fund that was slipped into the House bill in the 11th hour won't really solve. Nobody really believes that.

And, you know, in the end, if the states opt out and people with pre- existing conditions can't get the health care that they need, that's going to affect a lot of people, and I think that's the one that's going to come around to bite them.

[05:10:00] ROMANS: Yes, and I think what the Democrats are going to try to do is really frame this as tax cuts for the rich paid for by, you know, gutting your health care, your access to health care and try to frame it that way, because there are tax cuts for the rich in here.

I mean, make no mistake, the highest earners in America with the repeal of Obamacare get a pay raise, basically, immediately if this is passed. And there's also the politics of this, you know? I mean, I think, you know, it's kind of icky, the Democrats saying, you know -- good-bye -- to the Republicans. You know, people care what happens to them. But then listen to Paul Ryan in 2009. This is also a little icky.


RYAN: I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read, that we don't know what they cost. And if you rush this thing through before anybody even knows what it is, that's not good democracy. That's not doing our work for our constituents. We shouldn't rush this thing through just to rush it through for some artificial deadline. Let's get this thing done right.


ROMANS: Wait a minute! Wait a minute. I mean, this is so important! It's a fifth of the American economy, and that sounds like politics to me.

ROGIN: Yes, well, I've never seen a bill in all my years of covering Congress where it passes and both sides celebrate, right? They both think it's this huge political victory for them, and they both can't be right, where one of them has to be wrong. And this just sort of shows how, like, there's two totally

incongruent, unreconcilable analysis of how this will play out in the 2018 elections. For Republicans, this is just them fulfilling the biggest promise they made to get themselves elected. The Democrats, they think this is political suicide for the Republicans, right? We won't actually find out for another year and a half, OK? So --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROGIN: We're living in a world where both sides can spin this as a victory to their respective media bases and to their respective political bases. But in the end, one of them has made a horrible miscalculation here, you know? Even the Republicans have sacrificed their long-term political prospects to fulfill a promise that they feel beholden to, or the Democrats have totally miscalculated what the political landscape looks like and the popularity of Obamacare based on these town halls and have given up their next election and the chances of taking back Congress, and nobody knows. Both sides have convinced themselves that they're right and we won't find out until November 2018.

BRIGGS: And we won't find out what the Senate's going to do with this bill. That is where this debate goes next, and we'll ask you about that in about 30 minutes.

ROGIN: Sounds good.

ROMANS: Thanks, Josh.

All right. Big jobs report due out this morning. What to expect, what it means for your money and your paycheck, that's next.


[05:16:43] ROMANS: It's jobs Friday, folks in America, and the American job market is poised for a rebound. The April jobs report comes out this morning. What can it tell us about President Trump's economy so far, especially his promise of 25 million new jobs over the next ten years?

Well, I can tell you what economists expect: the unemployment rate still at 4.5 percent, solid wage growth and 190,000 new jobs. It's a nice bump after the slowdown of 98,000 in March.

That could be good news for President Trump. While he boasted about previous strong jobs reports, he blames weak GDP data from the same period on former President Obama. So, can he take credit for today's number?

Well, corporate America loves his pro-business policies, but he inherited a strong economy of jobs gains and falling unemployment, so the true test will be if his plans for tax cuts and deregulation pass and stimulate growth and get that GDP number up.

If the president wants to reach that 25 million goal, he's going to have to do a few things. He needs to create about 208,000 net new jobs a month. Numbers aren't quite there yet, but we'll find out the exact number when I break those numbers live at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

BRIGGS: All right. Members of the House Intelligence Committee expressing frustration after a classified briefing with FBI Director James Comey. Sources tell CNN a long-awaited, closed-door session revealed few new details about the bureau's investigation of Russia and its ties to the Trump campaign. They say the answers provided by Comey during the two-hour briefing were the same he made in public a day earlier.

While Democrats focusing on Russia's meddling in the election, Republicans pressing for more details on the source of leaks of classified information to the media.

BRIGGS: All right, would you pay $500 for a pair of shoes? Would you?


BRIGGS: I would not.

ROMANS: I'm cheap.

BRIGGS: One NBA prospect thinks you should. Andy Scholes tells us who in this morning's "Bleacher Report."


[05:22:58] BRIGGS: All right. Before we get to those $500 shoes, the series to watch right now in the NBA playoffs is the Celtics/Wizards. Things getting heated quickly in game three.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this Friday edition of "Bleacher Report."

Hey, there!

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. You know, Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas saying after this one, it's pretty simple -- we don't like them, they don't like us. And that was pretty clear watching game three.

In the second quarter, check this out. Celtics' Kelly Olynyk lays out Kelly Oubre Jr. with the pick and Oubre just got to jump right over and knocked Olynyk right off of his feet. He was ejected from the game for that. There were eight technical fouls and three ejections total in this one. Wizards would get the emotional 116-89 win to get back in the series. Game four in this one is going to be Sunday night.

All right. Scary moment in the Padres/Rockies game last night. The bat slipping out of Hector Sanchez's hand and goes into the stands and strikes a female fan. Now, there was a 15-minute delay in the game while medical staff came down to help the woman.

Luckily, she was alert and able to walk out, although she did have a pretty big bandage on her head, as you can see there.

All right. Get your hats and mint juleps ready. Tomorrow, the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. We don't have a dominant horse in the field this year. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are the favorites right now.

But look out for the one-eyed horse named Patch. He only has his right eye. He's kind of the sentimental favorite this year. Post time tomorrow evening at 6:34 Eastern.

All right. Finally, NBA prospect Lonzo Ball's dad LaVar revealing his signature shoe yesterday and get this, the retail price for the first Big Baller Brand shoe, $495. Yes, you heard that right. Now, Nike, Under Armour and Adidas all declined to license the shoe.

For the time being, it will only be available online. And if you order now, Dave, it ships in late November.

[05:25:01] So you'd better get on that. Now, LaVar Ball is responding to the criticism of his expensive shoe on Twitter with this tweet, "Big Baller's loose. If you can't afford the ZO2s, you're not a big baller!"

So, apparently I'm not a big baller, I learned that yesterday, but I can't wait to see how they look like you on November.

BRIGGS: Scholes, Congress called and said that's tone-deaf.


BRIGGS: That is brutal! What's worse is he has $220 flip-flops as part of his new line.

SCHOLES: Yes, we didn't have time to the shower shoes, yep, $220. I don't know what's going to sell better, really.

BRIGGS: Wow, that is remarkable.

ROMANS: Starting with $500 --

BRIGGS: Thank you, Scholes. I will not be buying those shoes. Way out of my price range.

ROMANS: They sort of look orthopedic actually. Maybe health care reform will include some of those shoes if they help you.

All right. Thanks a lot.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: The health bill passing the House, showing few signs of life in the Senate. Why the first legislative win for the president may be short-lived. A lot of work ahead. We'll tell you, next.