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Senate Republicans to Reveal Details of Health Care Bill; Interview with Bob Inglis. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired June 22, 2017 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: -- who have said that this is a very important issue for them.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And Susan Malveaux on Capitol Hill. They are still behind closed doors so it's hard to get reaction. Do you sense a disturbance in the force? Any way to tell how this is being received?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you I do get a sense of that because I have been talking to lawmakers going into that meeting and I had a chance to talk to Senator Marco Rubio, this was just yesterday, and he was vocally critical of the secretive process here, really very much so, but saying -- toning it down a bit, if you will, yesterday saying look, there are five different ways people get their health care, through the VA, or it's the individual market or their employer or Medicaid-Medicare. And he said this is just going to impact two of those five, that is Medicaid and the individual market. So he was trying to say that he is willing and he said he's willing to take a first step here to take a look at this and see how it impacts those two areas on his particular state.
I also had a chance to talk to Senator Susan Collins. And she, too, is willing to take a look at this. And she is one of those critical, moderate Republicans who are really going to -- they are going to count on her, on her vote, and that Planned Parenthood issue is critical. That is something that is going to be very hard for her to budge on, even with the fact that it is just for a year that they are defunding that.
So those are two people that I know that are highly anticipating potentially some problems with this but also a willingness, if you will, to work with the leadership.
BERMAN: Elizabeth Cohen, I want to bring you in here because I think the American people are probably saying, enough about them in the Senate, what about me? What does this mean for my health care? Do you have a sense of who might be most affected by these changes?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So many Americans are going to be affected. Let's go down the list, John. First of all, people who buy insurance on their own and are over 50, they are going to get hit big time. Their premiums are going to go way, way up under the House bill. And we'll have to see what the Senate does with that. So it will be interesting to see. Also people buying insurance on their own and have a pre-existing
condition, the House, under certain circumstances, what the House did could really put insurance for these folks in peril. Again we'll have to see what the Senate ends up doing. Also buy insurance on your own and you go to the doctor. I know that sounds crazy, that's so basic, but the Obamacare mandated coverage for certain essential benefits, one of them being doctors' services before Obamacare. Insurance can really be skimpy if you bought it on your own. And we'll have to see what the Senate does. Do they undo what Obamacare did? Do they undo those key protections? We'll have to see.
Also if you're on Medicaid, if the Senate does what the House did, it could be a big difference in your life. There's major funding cuts under the House version for Medicaid. And also Planned Parenthood, you just heard M.J. and Suzanne talk about the defunding. Folks who depend on these clinics, and of course there are many millions of them, they could really be in trouble. I talked to one woman in Southern California who said look, my clinic is, you know, likely going to possibly have to close. She said she'll go to Mexico for coverage if the Senate agrees with the House and that's how the whole thing ends up happening.
BERMAN: So, Elizabeth, you know, half of Americans actually get their insurance through their employer. Do they need to be paying attention here?
COHEN: Right. So everything I just said doesn't pertain to people who get insurance through their employer. But what I'm about to say, it does pertain to people who get insurance through their employer. It does matter. When you get your insurance through your employer under Obamacare, there are limits to what you can pay out of pocket. Let's say you have a preemie baby, you could -- before Obamacare, you could use up your lifetime max quickly and then you end up shelling out for the rest and insurance companies could say, sorry, we're done. Now you're in charge of paying.
So it will be interesting to see, does the bill that will end up coming out of the House and Senate, does it reverse that Obamacare era protection? What will it do to those annual lifetime -- annual and lifetime caps?
BERMAN: As we said, we are waiting for the exact details. We are also waiting for the reaction from the senators who are inside that closed room. How will they feel about what they see?
Suzanne Malveaux, M.J. Lee, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
All right. There is another big moment happening on Capitol Hill in just a few minutes. We are going to hear from the House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Members of her own party, members of the House Democratic Caucus, some have been saying it is time for her to step aside as the party leader. This follows the election losses in Georgia and South Carolina.
How will Nancy Pelosi respond? We will hear from her in just a few minutes.
[10:38:53] BERMAN: All right. Live pictures right now. The House minority leader Nancy Pelosi speaking for the first time since the members of her own party have called on her to step aside as House Democratic leader. Let's listen.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: They have the right to vote and that their vote will be counted as cast. Counted as cast. Many people sacrificed so much for the right to vote in our country. Abraham Lincoln, we know. The suffragists, the women to have the right -- the civil rights movement. And you see the evidence. They come to (INAUDIBLE) anniversary and they come home and say you can't have a vote.
Well, it's nice for them to pay their respects, but the ultimate respect is to respect the right of every American who is eligible to have that right to vote. So, again, we want to work every single day to advance this cause. The public should know that there are obstacles to participation, to our democracy, that our founders thought of something completely different from this. It's a sacred right. It's the basis for our democracy.
[10:40:04] I often say then when you go to heaven and you see our founders, how do you approach them and say, I did everything in my power to suppress the vote?
BERMAN: All right. The House Democratic leader speaking about voting rights. She will also speak about the health care bill, showing no signs, at least not yet, that she plans to heed the calls to step aside as House Democratic leader. She will speak to reporters. She will brief in just a few minutes. She's going from this event to a microphone. We will bring that to you live when it happens.
In the meantime, time is running out for the White House to answer like they said they would, if tapes actually exist of President Trump's conversation with James Comey while he was still the FBI chief. When asked yesterday, the deputy press secretary said they will have something to tell the public, quote, "this week." So that means today or tomorrow. We are still waiting.
Joining me now to discuss this and everything else going on with the Russia investigation is a man who helped draft the impeachment articles for then President Bill Clinton, former congressman Bob Inglis.
Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. I appreciate you being here, sir.
BOB INGLIS, HELPED DRAFT PRESIDENT CLINTON'S IMPEACHMENT ARTICLE: Good to be with you. Thanks.
BERMAN: I want to ask you about some developments in this investigation that CNN is learning today as part of an exclusive. The president asked the director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the NSA director, Mike Rogers, he asked them to go public and say that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. He asked them to do this, we are told, apparently even though there is still an investigation going on. Do you think that is proper, sir?
INGLIS: No. But there are a number of improprieties here. I mean, the president really needs to understand that this is an investigation of an attack by a hostile, foreign power at the heart of our republic. And if he were wise, he would open up the doors and say, let's look into it, come and see what all I've got because we've got to know what happened here. But as it is, I think he is risking every step that he takes toward trying to stop an investigation. He risks obstruction of justice.
BERMAN: It's interesting and you've written an op-ed about this, which I'll talk about in a second but along the lines of what you're saying, you know, let the sunshine in. Clearly not calling for that this morning. He's been making statements over the last several minutes, I'll read you one of them, he said, "Why did the DNC refuse to turn over a server to the FBI and still hasn't? It's all a big Democratic scam, an excuse for losing the election."
Now the first part is true. I mean, Jeh Johnson, the former DHS secretary, said he had concerns about why the Democratic National Committee wouldn't let the government in to help figure out what was going on and prevent the hacking. But the second part, it's all a Dem scam, an excuse for losing the election. Dismissing the entire investigation into Russian hacking.
What do you make of it?
INGLIS: I think it's a really dangerous thing to say. I mean, what we need is a president who realizes that this is a serious attack by a hostile foreign power as they say at the heart of our republic. And so what we need to do is really get to the bottom of it. And especially in looking forward to my colleagues, my Republican friends, really getting after this investigation because the best way to give trust to the American people is to get to the bottom of this. The way to build distrust is to try to stop it, obstruct it, explain it away. Those kind of things won't work because the American people need to know what happened here.
BERMAN: Just a bit of breaking news right here. The Senate health care bill, I want to tell our viewers, did just post online. The full version, 142 pages. I'll tweet a link to it so you can start reading if you're interested right now. It'll take a while, this legislative language.
In the meantime, Congressman, let me get back to the matter on hand. You wrote an op-ed in the "Washington Post," which is really interesting. It was sort of a letter to your Republican -- you know, many of them your former colleagues in the House of Representative who you get a sense that you believe aren't taking this seriously enough. You, essentially were saying, if this were on the other foot, if this were a Democratic president, Republicans will be looking at this much, much more closely. INGLIS: Yes, let's say that Hillary Clinton had won the election and
let's say that the FBI director, James Comey, had reopened an investigation into her use of a private e-mail server. And let's say that she had fired him because she was angered by him doing that. Republicans would be howling about that. We would be talking about impeachment. We would be talking about obstruction of justice. But as it is, we're sort of whimpering. We are not after this thing. We need to really be after it because this is much more serious than that.
She might have revealed some of our secretes inadvertently, but here, what we're talking about is a hostile country attacking us and our voting system. That's a very serious matter. And if anyone, as James Comey said a couple of times in his testimony, if any Americans were involved in that, it's a really big thing.
[10:45:11] And so we should follow this investigation wherever it goes, and especially Republicans for our own credibility should say, you bet. We're going to get to the bottom of this. And if it leads to the president or to his family or to his campaign, so be it. We got to get to the bottom of it.
BERMAN: And you actually have a theory about why Republicans might not be pressing harder. You call up Marco Rubio by name. And you said part of the reason is the media environment right now. What do you mean?
INGLIS: Well, what it is, is there are people like at "FOX and Friends" who are constantly apologizing, explaining, minimizing this possible investigation. and the result is, if they feed the 38 percent, 39 percent that are loyal Trump supporters, those people are the ones who will ultimately kill the Republican Party because they want to go back to some good old days that never existed. And so my party is a great risk here.
What we need to be showing is a forward thinking conservatism that answers questions with free enterprise like climate change, for example. There's a free enterprise answer there. We could get with that. But as it is, we are -- because of "FOX and Friends" and others that are constantly explaining, apologizing, minimizing for the president, that 38 percent, 39 percent is fed that steady diet. And so they are sticking with him without question.
And it's -- really it's an abdication and the responsibility of journalists because journalists should ask hard questions, they should ask, what about this? And what about that? Not sort of explain away. And so yes, it's a combination of media, sycophantic media if you will, people that support the president in their broadcast and its impact on that 38 percent, 39 percent. At some point, 38 percent, 39 percent will realize she was sort of been had, but not yet. And that's what's holding us back.
BERMAN: Well, we're trying to ask the questions here, at least, sir. We ask them every day. The flipside of that, though, is, do you think there's any element of this that the Democrats are pushing too hard? I mean, last night, for instance, the House Oversight Committee, the Democratic members wrote a letter asking why Michael Flynn's security clearance wasn't revoked and then also suggesting that Jared Kushner's should be revoked right now. And I'm not sure there's a parallel in terms of how much evidence exists on both figures.
Are Democrats pushing harder than they should?
INGLIS: Well, to be clear, when they talk about articles of impeachment, yes, that's way too soon. What we're talking about here is an investigation. It's not time to draft the articles of impeachment. It is, however, time to get to the bottom of this and to investigate it fully. And to really throw open the doors, go right at it rather than explaining or minimizing.
But no, it's not time to draft articles of impeachment. You only do that if you find cause. And you find cause after a thorough investigation or maybe the president is exonerated, in which case the American people would be greatly reassured.
BERMAN: Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina, thanks so much for being with us. Really interesting perspective from someone who's been through all of this or at least something not completely unlike this. Appreciate your time, sir.
All right. We have breaking news. The Senate health care bill has been posted online. We are poring through the pages and maybe more importantly in the near term, we are getting our first reaction from the Republican senators. Do they have the 50 votes they need to get this through? Stay with us.
[10:52:40] BERMAN: All right. Breaking news. We're juggling a whole lot of live here. Nancy Pelosi at the microphone right now. There have been members of her own Democratic caucus who have asked her to step aside as the House Democratic leader. We are monitoring these remarks because also just about a minute and a half minute ago, the Senate Republicans posted their version of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Where are we going first? Are we talking health care? Are we listening to Nancy Pelosi?
All right. We're going to keep an eye on Nancy Pelosi right now. First we're going to CNN's Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.
You know, run, don't walk to your computer, Phil, because the Republicans have posted the bill online, 142 pages. What do we know?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, 142 pages. It's being called the BCRA as opposed to the AHCA. Those are the least important aspects of this.
Look, the key elements here we know a good deal about. First and foremost it repeals the Obamacare taxes with the exception of the Cadillac tax retroactively. It repeals the individual mandate and it repeals the employer mandate. These are all key elements that we knew were going to be in there.
The most interesting elements of this are the details of things like Medicaid, whether the expansion goes away as quickly as the House version did. The answer is no. It goes more slowly. That is something that Medicaid expansion state senators wanted to have in the bill. So that is helpful. On the tax credit side, there's been a lot of criticism including, John, from the president himself that the subsidies in the House bill were not generous enough.
And that's largely backed up by analysts that would show that it would be very difficult particularly for lower income individuals, older individuals to be able to finance their ability to pay for health care.
This bill tries to address that in certain ways, changing the way the tax credit would be applied here, going by income instead of age entirely, trying to make it a little less flat. So that's something there as well. And a shift from the Affordable Care Act subsidies, that threshold, eligibility threshold, is at 400 percent of the poverty level this would --
BERMAN: All right, Phil, stand by -- stand by one moment. Stand by one moment. Some of the details in the bill, Nancy Pelosi who I doubt has seen a chance -- to see the details is talking about it right now. Let's listen.
PELOSI: -- have heart. So sad, Mr. President. Heartless. Mean and heartless. And this is the same thing. It's the same bill. It will do exactly what the House bill did, increase cost for fewer benefits, it will have an age tax, people 50 or 64 may be paying as much as five times more for their benefit.
[10:55:05] Undermine Medicare by reducing the years of its solvency and tens of millions of people. We'll see what the CBO comes down with. But millions and millions and millions of people will lose their health care. In addition to that, it still takes away the essential benefit package. I quote Pontius Pilate, leave it up to the state. It does serious harm to the states, which throws a few crumbs in years in terms of Medicaid and then clobbers the states, making them unable to meet the needs of their people.
So I'm very proud of our members. They understand that Trumpcare inflicts great suffering on veterans, on seniors, on working families, on rural communities, and -- as I said working families. It is a job killer, too. It's estimated that the House bill will lose 1.8 million jobs. I got a Pinocchio for saying at 1.9 million or two million so let's be precised. And we'll see what the -- what their bill look like.
This is a working draft. Probably something where they put some terrible things in so they correct them and members say it's better now. But it still has to pass CBO. And we haven't seen what that is. So it is if the American people are shut out of the debate as they have been. We want to make sure they are not shut out of their health care.
And speaking of jobs, as I said, 1.8 million jobs, many of them in rural areas. There are changes in Medicaid. Many more hospitals will have to close. When a hospital closes in your area, it's a bad thing for the health and well being of the community, that's for sure. But it also is about reducing the attraction that community might have to attract business.
Why would you choose a place that did not have health care accessibility there? And when they talk about access, they talk about emergency room, they wouldn't even have that. We don't call that access. That's the most expensive kind and the most detrimental to the health and well-being of the American people.
But again back to the jobs that would be lost by their health care bill. It is -- we haven't seen a budget. The budget we have seen from the president would lose 1.4 million jobs. Some of that is overlap with the health care bill, not in addition to. We haven't seen the infrastructure bill. Again, we haven't started with the budget. We know what the health care bill would do.
So this is a big problem. No budget, no infrastructure bill, no tax bill. We thought we could work together on infrastructure, we could work together on reducing the corporate rate, closing special interest loopholes, reducing the deficit, creating growth by working together. But I fear that what they may do is just get through this debate on health care to enable them to get on to the debate about taxes and just, again, trickledown economics to prevail.
And one other point I want to make is this -- again this bill that the Republicans put out a working draft is that the term we're going, is yet again a tax bill disguised as a health care bill. They need this in order to do their tax breaks for the high end to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. It's unfortunate.
I know you probably have some interest in what happened in Georgia this week. The fact is we're very proud of the race that was run there. The candidate who carried the banner, Jon Ossoff had a great campaign. I was interested in some of the statements of the people from Georgia saying, hey, we reduced by 20 points what the advantage had been in that district for the Republicans.
This is good news for us, for our legislative races and congressional races, and also statewide. I thank our chairman, Mr. Ben Ray Lujan, deserves a great deal of credit for the work that was done in these four races. I don't have it right here, but it adds up to over 71 points, 25 points carved off of the Republican majority in Kansas. Another big chunk in Montana. Another big chunk in South Carolina. Another big chunk in Georgia. Nearly 20 points. So over 71 points.
By all accounts, if you are a Republican, this is not good news to you. One Pyrrhic victory, four Pyrrhic victories, because it shows where the vulnerability is on the Republican side as we come forward. So we take pride on the candidates who ran, their campaigns, and the difference that they have made.