Return to Transcripts main page


Winners And Losers Of The Republican Health Care Bill; Springing Into Action; President Trump To Attend First NATO Summit; Montana Candidate Charged After Alleged Body Slam. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 25, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:33:40] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The CBO score for the GOP health care bill is out. It estimates 23 million more people would be uninsured in the year 2026 and the federal deficit would be cut by $119 billion during that time. But, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy has a different test. He discussed it a couple of weeks ago with Jimmy Kimmel. You remember this?


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": The "Jimmy Kimmel Test," I think, should be no family should be denied medical care, emergency or otherwise, because they can't afford it. Can that be the "Jimmy Kimmel Test?" Is that oversimplifying it?

SEN. BILL CASSIDY, (R) LOUISIANA: Hey, man, you're on the right track and if that's as close as we can get that works great in government. Now, we've got to be able to pay for it and that's the challenge. So all those middle-class families right now paying $20,000 to $30,000 to $40,000 a year for their coverage, we have to make it affordable for them, too.


CUOMO: All right. Joining us now is Sen. Bill Cassidy. Senator Cassidy, does the House GOP plan pass the test?

CASSIDY: It depends. If you're older and you're sicker, not really. If you're younger and healthier, yes, it does, and that's important because young, healthy folks need to have affordable coverage, so it's a mixed bag.

CUOMO: If you're pulling money out of the Medicaid portion of this and the test was about those who can't afford health care, not being denied it, how does it pass the test? It doesn't seem like it depends, it seems like the answer is no.

[07:35:03] CASSIDY: Well, again, it depends. First, let's consider your first point. If you take $800 billion out, clearly something falls off, absolutely. This latest report didn't really go into Medicaid as much because it focused on the private insurance market. But what you're saying is certainly true of those who would be covered under Medicaid.

CUOMO: And we see -- we see -- CASSIDY: But in fairness --

CUOMO: -- it reflected in the budget, as well, don't we? I mean, it seems to be that this is a value proposition. You wanted the money out of the system, maybe it will help with the tax reform bill that you have, so you're doing that and the savings are shown in the CBO score. But there's a trade-off and it seems that your party's not being honest about that trade-off. What do you think?

CASSIDY: Well again, first, it would become -- insurance would become affordable for those who are younger and healthier, and that is a group which has struggled with affordability under the Affordable Care Act. Again, I mentioned people paying $20,000 a year who are healthy. They would see a significant decrease in their premiums. That's a good thing.

On the other hand, we do have to, if you will, fulfill President Trump's campaign promise, and his campaign promise was to cover all continuing care for those with preexisting conditions, eliminating mandates, and lowering premiums, and by that analysis the latest plan doesn't address that.

One more thing, though. That's yesterday's news. Now it's on to the Senate. The Senate has got to, if you will, fulfill candidate Trump's campaign pledge. I think that's the more important issue now.

CUOMO: So the word that what the Senate is doing is basically working off the existing model and playing with it. That doesn't seem to be satisfactory by the measure that you're setting. Is that true?

CASSIDY: You know, I think it was a consensus that we need to lower premiums and not just relative to Obamacare because under Obamacare premiums are going up 40 percent per year and insurers are leaving states. We actually want to lower premiums significantly, not 35 percent instead of Obamacare's 40 percent. And so, if we take that and it passes the "Jimmy Kimmel Test" -- credible coverage -- and lower premiums in a real way,I think we'll be someplace where the American people would like us to be.

CUOMO: Here's the problem, and you know this and the American people are learning it. You can't make it work if you don't have the healthy people in the plan, OK?


CUOMO: That's the fundamental truth of insurance, is that it's a pooled coverage and if you don't have the people who are easy to cover it's going to be really expensive to cover the people who need a lot of help. You remove the mandate, which sounds good to a lot of people because you shouldn't be able to insist that somebody buys something even though the Supreme Court said this was a legal legislation -- legal, not illegal. That this was legal to do. So you remove the mandate, sounds good. How do you get the healthy people in the pool and make the system work?

CASSIDY: In a bill that Susan Collins and I have introduced before the Republican senators we use a mechanism called "auto-enrollment" which is to say we just make it really easy to be in. That's what we do with Medicare. When you turn 65 you're on Medicare. You can call them up and say I don't want to but, otherwise, you're on Medicare. We do that same sort of easy enrollment in this plan -- in the Patient Freedom Act -- and that sort of easy enrollment is actually getting currency among my Senate colleagues as a way to eliminate mandates but still keep a lot of people in that pool to provide them insurance and to also lower the health care costs for those who are sicker.

CUOMO: But you know that the younger people won't do it unless they have to. I mean, we saw that before the ACA --

CASSIDY: Well, that's the --

CUOMO: -- and we saw it during the ACA. They don't want the care. They don't want to pay anything. They don't need it --

CASSIDY: That's the nice thing

CUOMO: -- or so they think.

CASSIDY: That's the nice thing about the auto-enrollment, in which you're going to have a credit sufficient for the annual premium. A portion of that credit, though, does go to kind of subsidize the overall pool. But if that young person gets in a car wreck, then his or her expenses are completely covered. Now, you know, subject to a deductible, of course. So again, if we do easy enrollment like we do with Medicare, with a credit sufficient for the annual premium, we can have a very large, robust risk pool.

CUOMO: But you do acknowledge, though, that this 23 million people who are going -- are in the lower-income spectrum who are going to lose care, that's relevant, right?

CASSIDY: Totally.

CUOMO: Isn't that something you have to address?

CASSIDY: Totally, and so that's why I say the House plans is yesterday's news.

CUOMO: Right.

CASSIDY: But if we do the easy enrollment, such as we're proposing, a lot of those folks would be back in. Again, they anticipate 14 million people dropping off next year because of no mandate. If we had an auto-enrollment feature those 14 million could still be in the pool. That's the beauty of the auto-enrollment -- of the "easy enrollment" as I like to say.

CUOMO: All right. So these are hard questions. Let me ask you an easy question. In Montana, this lawmaker didn't like what was going on with the reporter. The best reckoning of the facts for this man, Gianforte, would be that the reporter may have grabbed his wrist. We do not know that to be true. The man was charged with assault -- Gianforte. But giving him the best reckoning of the facts what do you think your party should do about this man running for Congress in Montana?

[07:40:05] CASSIDY: You know, I just heard about that walking in today and I didn't even know the portion about the grabbing of the wrist.

CUOMO: I don't know that that's true, by the way. That is just what the lawmaker's staff said. The witnesses do not corroborate that. It's not clear from the audiotape. I'm giving him that as a gift. The police charged him with assault. But what's your take?

CASSIDY: So, I actually don't know anything about the situation but let me point this out. Good policy is good politics. Americans have been voting for politicians who have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare for eight years. They clearly don't like Obamacare. If we in the Senate come up with something which both repeals and replaces, that fulfills candidate Trump's pledges, that will be good politics and we won't -- we won't have to worry about misdemeanor charges.

CUOMO: No, but I'm just saying -- just quickly --

CASSIDY: But I don't know the --

CUOMO: -- if the guy assaulted a reporter do you think he should be sitting in Congress?

CASSIDY: I don't know anything about that. I read the headline on the way in. As you present it, probably not. But since I don't know anything about that story it's just really hard for me to --

CUOMO: I hear you.

CASSIDY: -- make a comment.

CUOMO: I don't want you to talk without the facts. Senator, I appreciate you being on the show --

CASSIDY: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- and this health care discussion is going to keep going and you're welcome here to discuss it anytime.

CASSIDY: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, Chris. A Wisconsin woman goes from pumping gas to stopping a carjacker. The amazing video that we have to show you, next.


[07:45:35] CAMEROTA: OK. So, a severe storm system is heading up the East Coast. (Video playing) Tornadoes destroying this school gym that you just saw in North Carolina. Let's get to meteorologist Chad Myers for more. What are you seeing, Chad? CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Alisyn, you know, not as severe today as yesterday but certainly the potential for a lot of rainfall in New York City. It's a train day, as we say in New York. Don't try to get in a cab. It will be a slow commute today. This weather is brought to you by Purina -- your pet, our passion.

Here's the rain across the Northeast. It's everywhere from Boston, to New York, to D.C., although it will be drying up in D.C., and Richmond and Baltimore before it dries up in New York. So the rain continues across part of Dubois, all the way into Pennsylvania and into Chautauqua County and Buffalo -- just south towns. Those towns really getting hammered with rainfall today. It could be two to three inches of rain in some of those kind of rugged areas so watch out for some flash flooding.

Now, it stays cool all the way through the weekend -- comfortably cool. We'll be in the sixties in the seventies. But how about that, 61, 74, 73, and 66 for D.C. A little warmer to the south but pretty good weather even though the rain showers will keep it quite cloudy -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Chad, thank you very much for that forecast.

So, President Trump is in Brussels. He's heading to his first NATO summit in just a few hours from now. At this moment he's at a working lunch with the new French president, Emmanuel Macron. As a candidate, you'll remember President Trump called NATO "obsolete" but he now says it is not obsolete.

Meanwhile, a Trump administration official tells CNN that Press Secretary Sean Spicer is "fuming" that he did not get to meet Pope Francis yesterday. Spicer's a devout Catholic. He was eagerly anticipating meeting the Pope but he found out at the last minute that he was not going to be part of that delegation.

CUOMO: All right. We've got some video for you. (Video playing) This woman fighting back after a carjacker tries to steal her SUV at a Milwaukee gas station. The woman jumps on the hood. The guy puts on the wipers. The old 'use the wipers to get me off the hood' trick didn't work. The guy slams on the brakes twice. Melissa Smith refuses to budge.


MELISSA SMITH, CARJACKING VICTIM: He looked at me and he laughed at me which really irritated me.


CUOMO: And that was his mistake. The carjacker jumped out, got away. He made off with her purse, wallet, and phone, but Smith kept her car. Was able to jump into the driver's seat before her SUV rolled into traffic.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.

CUOMO: This,I find, to be most impressive, by the way.

CAMEROTA: What part is not impressive?

CUOMO: Jumping on the hood is impressive, though I would argue --

CAMEROTA: Not wise.

CUOMO: -- ill-advised.


CUOMO: But now -- OK, the guy's gone, I got my car back. It's rolling into traffic. There had to be so much inside of her saying well, this is going to be really bad --


CUOMO: -- run away. Instead, she jumps in and saves her car.

CAMEROTA: OK, after the first time that he jams on the brakes that sent her flying, I think I would have gotten off the hood and reconsidered my strategy.

CUOMO: You would have never been anywhere near the hood of that car.

CAMEROTA: You're right. I would only have been thrown on the hood by accident.

CUOMO: You would never even have been pumping gas.

CAMEROTA: That's right. What am I saying? I don't -- I don't get out of the car for those things. That's why this would never happen to me. I like full-serve. No, just kidding. But listen, I can't believe that she was brave enough to stay on her car and hang onto the wipers and make him --


CAMEROTA: -- run out.


CAMEROTA: I didn't think it was going to go that way.

CUOMO: Very, very impressive on one level, but again, why do they tell you not to do these things? Think about how many things could have gone wrong for her over a car, a purse, and a phone.

CAMEROTA: Yes. If he had made it onto the highway things would have been --

CUOMO: Well, if she'd fallen off and he'd run over her. A million things could have gone wrong but they didn't, and bravo for her.

CAMEROTA: OK. A Montana GOP congressional candidate has made headlines this morning for all of the wrong reasons. This is just hours before the special election there. How will Republicans react to his charge of assault? We debate that next.


[07:53:00] CAMEROTA: A Republican candidate for Montana's open U.S. House seat is facing an assault charge this morning after this confrontation with a reporter.


BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: -- the CBO score. As you know, you've been waiting to make your decision about health care until we saw the bill and it just came out.

GREG GIANFORTE, MONTANA GOP CANDIDATE: We'll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious --

GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please.

I'm sick and tired of you guys. The last time you came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: Jesus.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here and I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guy's names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you've got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to leave.


CAMEROTA: How will Republicans respond to this? Let's bring in CNN political commentator and former senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, and CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro. You guys are Republicans. Rick Santorum, is there any doubt in your mind about what happened here?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA: It doesn't sound like it and I've seen some reports of people who were there who witnessed it that doesn't make it sound any better than what the audio sounds like. The fact of the matter is that, you know, reporters get up in your face and harass you. I've been there many, many, many times and I have to say on occasion I maybe felt like doing what that congressional candidate went, but you don't do it -- you can't.


SANTORUM: I mean, that's just not behavior that's acceptable and, you know, I can't -- I'm disappointed that he did what he did.

CAMEROTA: And Rick, one more minute on you. The election is today, so what should Republicans in his state, what should President Trump do about this?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, I don't really -- I don't really know. If the election's today, and you say it is, I mean I don't really know there's much you can do. I mean, the people of Montana are going to be hearing this and reacting to it. You know, I think obviously you've got to give -- you have the audio, you have some eyewitnesses. But as Bill Cassidy just said, I mean, a lot of that is still just trying to be worked out and you've got to --

[07:55:15] CAMEROTA: Yes.

SANTORUM: How that works into this equation, I don't know.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Ana.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I actually agree with Rick on this one. You know, today is Election Day. I think it's up to the people of Montana to make their decision. There is plenty of evidence out there. I woke up this morning and I told my boyfriend, you know, man, that guy, Gianforte, he is very, very lucky it wasn't Chris Cuomo he took on or we'd be peeling more than glasses off the wall this morning. Look, no matter how you look at it, it is -- it is --

CAMEROTA: But Ana, hold on a minute. Do you think that Republicans --

NAVARRO: -- it is unacceptable.

CAMEROTA: -- should speak out? I mean, look, so we all agree it's unacceptable in just the human course of interaction, but is it incumbent upon President Trump, who had made robocalls for this guy, to condemn it publicly?

NAVARRO: Look, I don't know if President Trump -- he's out there, you know, on a foreign trip. But certainly, I think, congressional leadership should put out a statement and congressional leadership should condemn this. And at this point, if this guy happens to lose the election tonight, which may or may not happen, they don't have to blame it on Trump, they don't have to blame it on the health care bill, they don't have to blame it on Paul Ryan or congressional leadership. They can put the blame squarely on this guy for his unacceptable behavior. I mean, you know, you just do not want to hire somebody to go represent the people of Montana that is incapable of behaving like a civil adult.

If you think getting questions from reporters is hard, wait until a constituent gets in your face and asks you very tough, pointed questions, which we have seen over and over in the last few months happen in town halls.


NAVARRO: We have seen constituents get in the faces of elected officials --


NAVARRO: -- point their fingers, and ask questions harshly. That is what an elected official is going to have to put up with.


NAVARRO: This guy simply does not have the temperament to do it. It's a special election. He's all -- you know, it's a -- in what, 12 months, we'll have another one.


NAVARRO: Another election and you can actually put up a Republican that --


NAVARRO: -- is sane, civilized, and has evolved --


NAVARRO: -- from walking on fours to walking on two legs.

CAMEROTA: But 12 months is a long time, Rick. What if he wins today?

SANTORUM: Well, then he's going to be a congressman who's going to be saddled with an assault suit that's going to obviously preoccupy his time. Look, this isn't a good situation for the Republicans.

CAMEROTA: No. But, I mean, should the Republicans intervene somehow today?

SANTORUM: I don't -- let me -- look, this is --

CAMEROTA: We're pulling -- we're pulling our endorsement back in.

SANTORUM: The people of Montana -- yes.

CAMEROTA: We don't believe -- we've lost faith in him.

SANTORUM: No, the people of Montana will make that decision. I don't think anybody rushing to judgment now is actually going to have an impact one way or another. I think let the people of Montana -- they're going to hear all about this. I'm sure this is front -- this is front-page story news and it's going to be on every media outlet in Montana and they're going to make a decision whether they -- whether this behavior is acceptable or not.

CAMEROTA: But, the problem is that there's early voting in this district in Montana. Seven out of 10 people have already voted. Maybe they regret their vote now that they hear this story but they've already voted. So, Ana, what --

SANTORUM: Well, that's -- you're talking to someone who's not for early voting, so this is another great example why early voting's a bad thing. I mean, as someone who's run in presidential elections where the dynamics of race changes up until the last minute, early voting may sound great to a lot of people to have the opportunity to vote early but it does -- it doesn't take in all the information that you need on Election Day. So, another good reason why early voting should be --

CAMEROTA: Ana, what do you think should happen today? I mean, in terms of other Republicans.

NAVARRO: Look, I'm not sure that Republicans saying anything is going to make a difference. I'm old enough to remember when Republican leadership came out against Donald Trump after the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tapes came out and it didn't make much of a difference. Voters still voted for him. So right now I would say if Republicans -- first of all, yes, Republicans should denounce, should condemn these acts. There is no justification.

But number two, the personal responsibility is upon the people of Montana. There is plenty of evidence for them to look at, to listen to, and for them to make up their minds. Is this the type of person you want representing you in Congress? Is this the type of example you want to set for your children? Is this the type of person that you want to go and see when you have a problem -- a constituent problem? Those are the questions they need to ask themselves. And at this point it's too late for practically anything to make a difference.

It is absolutely up to the voters of Montana. And even though there have been a lot of early voting turnout, Election Day still matters. If you are in Montana in that district and you thought well, maybe I don't have to go vote, maybe I don't need to go vote, get yourself up out of bed today and go vote and go make your voice heard because if not, you're going to be saddled with this guy for a long, long time and you're not going -- you know, you're not going to get a do-over for about another 16 months.

CAMEROTA: There you go. Ana Navarro, Rick Santorum, thank you very much.

We should let everyone know that we will speak to that reporter involved in the confrontation with the congressman -- or the congressman who's hoping to become a congressman. That will happen in just minutes so let's get right to it.