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Senate Republicans Unveil Health Bill Today; Trump Back on the Road; Georgia on Their Minds; Dueling Claims on Who Destroyed Mosul Mosque; Hoop Dreams: NBA Draft Tips Off Tonight. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 22, 2017 - 05:00   ET


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Senate Republicans hours away from revealing their health care plan negotiated in secret. So, how does it affect you, and can you win over enough support -- can they win over enough support to pass a vote next week?


[05:00:04] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I'll tell you about the Democrats. I am making it a little bit hard to get their support, but who cares?


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump doesn't seem to mind the Democrats opposing him at every turn. The president taking a victory lap in Iowa after the Republicans win in that Georgia special election.

KOSIK: And that loss in Georgia has some Democrats revolting. Nancy Pelosi is hearing growing calls for a change of leadership in the House.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik, sitting in for Christine Romans, who is enjoying some R&R.

BRIGGS: Couple of days off. It is Thursday, June 22nd, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We're about 4.5 hours away from getting a glimpse at that health care bill.

Up first, Republicans coming out of the shadows to unveil their plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare. Until now, though, the details have been a closely guarded secret with a handful of senators working behind closed doors.

KOSIK: OK. So, here's what we know about the plan we'll be seeing later this morning. It slows down the time frame in the House measure for rolling back the Medicaid expansion. It also improves tax credits for low-income and older Americans from the House version, and it offers states more flexibility on waivers to opt-out of Obamacare regulations. And that includes essential health benefits. BRIGGS: It also defunds Planned Parenthood for a year. That move

could violate Senate budget rules that GOP is using to pass the bill with only 51 votes. But several critical issues remain up in the air here. Those include a fund to fight opioid abuse, efforts to stabilize the market during the transition away from Obamacare and the timing of the repeal of Obamacare taxes. Also unclear is the fate of coverage for pre-existing conditions. That is key.

KOSIK: OK. Then, there's the politics of all this. Senate GOP leaders, they face a possible repeat of the fight that we saw happen in the House, trying to find a balance that's going to wind up satisfying both conservatives and moderates, earning enough votes to actually pass.

Let's get more now from CNN's Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Alison and Dave, good morning. And, finally, we're going to get a chance to see exactly what the Senate has planned in terms of reforming health care in the United States. The senators will meet first thing in the morning today to get a briefing on exactly what is in this bill.

And then later in the day, it will be posted online for everyone to see. For many senators, this will be the first time that they're seeing any of the text of this bill. This despite the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to vote and pass this bill by the Fourth of July recess.

Now, we do expect there to be some of those key Obamacare provisions that were taken out of the House bill reinserted into the Senate bill. And there will be a change to Medicaid expansion. It will be rolled back but in a much more gradual way than is expected in the House bill. They cut it off in 2020. The Senate won't even begin the process until 2021.

Now, White House staffers were briefed on the bill last night here on Capitol Hill, and I spoke to Marc Short, the White House legislative director, as he was leaving that meeting. He stopped short of saying that the president is ready to endorse this bill, but he did say in his mind, we are all one step closer to ending the nightmare that is Obamacare. It will certainly be a busy day up here on Capitol Hill -- Alison and Dave.


KOSIK: OK. Ryan, thank you very much.

And as we mentioned, the Senate GOP health care bill will delay the rollback of Medicaid expansion. But millions of Americans, they may wind up losing coverage sooner. And that's because many states, they're not going to have the money to keep the program running. It has to do with the federal match rate. The expansion covers 11 million low-income adults in 31 states. And the government covers 90 percent of the cost. That's a higher

rate than for traditional participants. But Medicaid has a huge churn rate. So, if adults drop out, they have to re-enroll at the lower traditional rate, and that's where states wind up running into problems.

At least eight have rules that end the expansion early if the match rate drops below 90 percent. Many other states will have to freeze the program if federal support decreases. Now, Medicaid is the biggest source of federal funding for many states. And cutting the expansion helps reduce Medicaid spending by at least $800 billion over the next ten years.

It's why you're seeing this push to really phase it out, because you're seeing Republicans want to have that savings.

BRIGGS: This is going to be a tough task to get this one through.

Joining us live this morning from Washington, "Weekly Standard" reporter Chris Deaton.

Chris, good morning and good luck breaking this down.


BRIGGS: We haven't seen the bill. Senators will get a glimpse in four hours. The American public just after this meeting.

All right. We're going to put up full screens to show what we know from the vague outlines that have been released and what we don't know. To you, what's the biggest difference from what we do know between this and the House bill?

DEATON: I think we can look at a couple of things on both sides here.

[05:05:01] And to your point -- this is with respect to moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans, both of whom you're going to have to hold together with such narrow margins that we're working with in the Senate, just a 52-48 majority here. And you have people on both ends who might be inclined to question and potentially drop off if their concerns aren't met.

On the conservative side, we have to look that states are going to retain some of this waiver authority. But the manner in which they do it is going to be a big deal. From everything that I understand, this idea of community rating that's tied to health status, that is being able to differentiate premiums based on a person's health history, who are in the same age bracket, that is no longer going to be in this particular bill.

However, there is going to be something that has to do with the age band rating or the amount of money that you can charge an older, pre- senior consumer over the youngest consumer. Obamacare limited that to a 3-1 ratio. The House bill upped that to the 5-1 ratio. I'm going to be curious to see whether or not the states are allowed to opt out altogether. And a lot of conservative policy wonks think that's a big cost driver.

So, that's a potentially big deal and sweetener of sorts. Then you have to look on the moderate Republican side with respect to the Medicaid expansion stuff, if you are going to provide a longer glide path, as Rob Portman has put it, something that's potentially four years long, doesn't begin until 2020. That seems like a win for them.

But then on the other side, if you end up tying the growth rate to just basic inflation and Medicaid spending. And that makes Medicaid grow at a much slower rate relative to current law. You're going to give a lot of moderate Republicans reason to balk at this bill potentially.

So, there are so many things to sort out that they're going to have to look at. And they've got about 15 minutes of real time to do it, it would appear.

KOSIK: So, I'm wondering with all of these Republicans trying to push through, where is the wiggle room? Where do you see them maybe pulling back on some of these points that they really want to push through where we can see them actually kind of -- kind of take a backseat to?

BRIGGS: I think that's going to be up to the Senate parliamentarian to a great deal. I mean, we still have yet to see whether or not some of these potentially budget related items, of course, that's the parliamentarian's call, are going to pass muster, be passed through.

I think one great example that meets both signed of a social conservative test but also has to do with funding is the idea of decoupling Medicaid and Planned Parenthood. And that is a potential poison pill for a lot of moderate Republicans. But I've certainly heard -- this is no surprise -- that type of thing is potentially a poison pill if you take it out for a lot of conservatives in the House who have expressed as much.

BRIGGS: Yes. You know, Murkowski and Collins don't favor the Planned Parenthood language. On the right, you have Paul, Cruz and maybe Mike Lee who think this bill doesn't go for that enough. This is going to be tough.

But let's talk about the process of this, which, of course, has been behind closed doors, totally in secret. Even the Republicans who were supposed to be writing the bill hadn't seen it. It appears Mitch McConnell hashed it out almost entirely. "Washington Post" editorial board writing this: Remember when Obamacare was written hastily behind closed doors so the Democrats could jam an unpopular health care bill through Congress? Remember when this showed they didn't care, what was in it and they had betrayed the trust of the American people? Republicans are hoping you don't remember or that you are willing to forget now that the shoe is on the other foot.

Chris, will there be a price to pay for the secrecy by which Republicans wrote this bill?

DEATON: That all depends on the quality of the bill. I think part of this issue, especially with respect to the House, this is what we've seen so far, is that there's absolutely no question Republicans had a very difficult time trying to explain and defend the particulars of what is inevitably extraordinarily complicated legislation. Health spending is on its way to accounting for one-fifth of the economy. When are you trying to overhaul a system that large with so many fine points that in this highly politicized environment could be distorted, misreported, have a difficult time trying to defend it already, the House, you know, Republicans had a tough time doing that in public.

So, if the Senate is doing this behind closed doors, they might be trying to save themselves some grief.

Now, that being said, they are going to have to make sure that they communicate some very top line messaging really clearly from the start that this benefits some of the constituencies that they're after. It's going to be no easy task whether or not this thing was drafted in the open or behind closed doors.

KOSIK: All right. So, we certainly have not heard from President Trump except for twitter. But President Trump was back in his natural habitat last night at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the campaign rally. And during the rally, he, you know, did his sort of greatest hits. He bashed the media. He talked about the wall. He also took a moment to slam Democrats.

Listen to this --


[05:10:04] TRUMP: They've been unbelievably nasty, really nasty. And they thought, they spent close to $30 million on this kid who forgot to live in the community that he was in. I mean, you know -- I'll tell you about the Democrats -- I am making it a little hard to get their support, but who cares?

The truth is, people love us, all of us. They love us. They don't get it. They haven't figured it out yet.



KOSIK: So, he's taking his victory lap concerning the special election in Georgia. And he's bringing that base back, didn't he?

DEATON: Well, first of all, the president can call a 30-year-old a kid whenever he wants to, I appreciate that. I had to look at the calendar, it seemed like it was June 21st, 2016, not 2017. It really was a rehash of the greatest hits, don't you see how large the crowds are, imploring the camera to turn around and try to get to look at the crowds. This is the type of thing that we have to remember during President Obama's second term, he did a lot of the same type of barnstorming stuff, trying to gin up support for his policies.

The problem with this president right now and the Congress he's working with is like we've seen with health care, there's so much of a stalled agenda going on, with the Russia investigation jamming things up, having a difficult time legislating on one massive issue to begin with. We have to remember how much time Obamacare took in the first place. It's going to take time for president Trump and the Congress to be able to roll out this agenda in full. It's going to be a little bit of a slog of a process. That's just how the legislature goes.

KOSIK: All right. Chris Deaton, it's been much talking to you. We'll bring you back in a little bit. Thank so much.

DEATON: Thanks, guys.

BRIGGS: Bye now.

KOSIK: The U.S. is denying claims by ISIS that American forces destroyed a mosque of critical significance to the Islamic State. We are live in the Mideast about why this matters.


[05:15:57] BRIGGS: Dueling claims this morning about who's responsible for blowing up a Mosul mosque considered the birthplace of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate. ISIS blames the U.S. coalition, a claim U.S. officials say is 1,000 percent false. Iraq's military putting the blame back on ISIS.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh live in Beirut with the latest.

Good morning to you, sir. This has been part of the ISIS playbook, has it not?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. They don't have a great track record with the truth here. And you have to ask, too, were you to believe their idea, why would the U.S. choose particularly this moment when Iraqi forces were advancing on the city to deliver an air strike they could have delivered any months in the past.

I think preponderance of evidence here, particularly people having seen explosives brought around the area by ISIS that suggest they're behind the mosque being blown up, that is a deeply symbolic moment for that terror group. It shows how far they are on the back foot now, pushed to a matter of square miles in the old city of Mosul, what used to be the most populous area under their control in the so-called caliphate. That mosque itself utterly the most important building, frankly, under their control.

The al-Nuri mosque with its leaning minaret is where Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi, their leader, gave his lengthy speech, declaring the so- called caliphate, his only real public appearance as the leader of ISIS. And it does appears from the devastating images that we've seen that it is in ruins. That explosion occurring at one of the most holy parts, the holy month of Ramadan, a remarkable move by ISIS to choose that timing to destroy such a deeply symbolic and important building.

For them, they wanted a scorched earth policy here we've seen before. They didn't want it falling into the hands of their enemies. Perhaps they wanted to blame the enemies for destroying it, too. A real sense I think this is perhaps letting control go of key buildings and seeing its end increasingly close.

Back to you.

BRIGGS: On their heels, indeed. Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Beirut, thank you.

KOSIK: All right. Breaking news, Prince Philip is out of the hospital. Moments ago, word from Buckingham palace that Queen Elizabeth's husband, the duke of Edinburgh, has been released from the hospital. The palace said yesterday morning that Philip had been hospitalized as a precaution, suffering from an infection that arose from treatment of a pre-existing condition. He is out of the hospital. Good news there.

All right. The NBA draft begins tonight. Can you contain your excitement?

BRIGGS: Well, we'll be asleep. But I am excited.

KOSIK: Who is going to be the top pick? Is there going to be a blockbuster trade in the works? Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" next.


[05:23:11] BRIGGS: All right. Let's talk some sports hoop dreams to be realized tonight for a couple of young men as the NBA draft set to take place right here in New York.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Good morning.

BRIGGS: Hey, man.


You know, draft night, it usually has plenty of drama. But this year, it seems like it's a whole another level. So many trade rumors, it seems trying to bolster their lineup to catch up the Warriors and Cavs after an early trade with the Celtics. The 76ers own the top pick in the draft. They're expected to pick Markelle Fultz out who Washington who's been compared to a young James Harden.

Now, picking second is the Los Angeles Lakers. They're expected to select a guy right out of their backyard. Lonzo Ball from UCLA. Now, Ball's dad LaVar has been very outspoken about his father being the next big star. He took to the streets of New York to say it again.


LAVAR BALL, LONZO BALL'S FATHER: LeBron, Steph Curry, they getting old. Somebody got to carry the NBA. Nothing like a Ball boy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right. NBA draft tips off tonight at 7:00 Eastern.

All right. For the second time in her career, U.S. track star Alysia Montano will be competing while pregnant. The 31-year-old Montano will be running the 800 at the USA track and field championships which gets started today in Sacramento.

Three years ago, Montano ran the same race while eight months pregnant with her first child. This time, she's about four months pregnant. In April, she, her husband, and her daughter posted this video announcing her pregnancy. Montano has won six 800 meter title that she says running pregnant is just part of her being a female professional athlete.

All right. Tom Brady's Under Armour tour of Asia continuing this week. And Brady's apparently taking some time to learn to sumo wrestle. Brady posted this shirtless pic with his son, they're hanging out with some of the pros. They also stepped into the circle for a little father/son bonding.

[05:25:08] And while the elder Brady won because he never loses.

All right. Finally, here's proof that the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry never takes a break even for the summer. Buckeye fans next to the wolverines fan. While one was on vacation, Higgins decided to mow "Ohio" into his lawn. Pretty creative.

He did the same style as the Buckeyes' band forms at halftime during their games. The guy, you know, Higgins has to hope his neighbor is a good sport about this whole thing because, you know, he could come home from work one day, and his entire house could be painted maize and blue.

BRIGGS: He's got to spray paint that, Scholes. I mean, you got to really highlight your work.

SCHOLES: Get some chalk, put it in to really see it.

KOSIK: I could see it.

BRIGGS: Up your prank game a little bit. But nice effort.

Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

KOSIK: Thanks, Andy.

OK, here comes the big reveal. Senate Republicans ready to release their health care plan. And the president, he's not counting on much bipartisan support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We would not get one Democrat vote because they're obstructionists. They're obstructionists. We wouldn't get one Democrat.


KOSIK: So, what's in the plan? What's not, and can it pass?