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Health Care Vote Delayed; Interview with Sen. Angus King; Medicaid Cuts Hurt Addict Treatment; White House Warning to Syria; Mother Tweets Son's Hospital Bill. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 28, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R), COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS: And much deeper for those who are most vulnerable who need that safety net. So the president was right there with, I think, my line of thinking. He was very open to suggestions and he was pushing it, you know, as a policy and obviously politically as well.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But you have just as much political opposition on the other side in your party, which is, they want to take as much money out of it as possible, that this was a pledge to do what is going to be, I guess, tantamount to deficit reduction, you know, a reduction move here by pulling money out of the system and help to motivate tax policy. So not only do you have equal resistance on the other end of the spectrum --

CAPITO: Right.

CUOMO: But they want more (INAUDIBLE). So how do you marry those two things? How do you marry Capito with these people on the other side, like Johnson and Lee and Paul, who want to take even more money out?

CAPITO: Well, I mean, we're all strong-willed people and, at the end of the day, I have to go back to my state, as they go back to theirs, to defend my policies and my decisions. You know, I think we all know that it's the art of compromise here in the Senate and so, at this point, we're -- we haven't reached that critical point of compromise. We're going to keep working at it. I think we realize how important it is to fix a system that's broken for many people. Our premiums in West Virginia went up 169 percent. These are working people who can no longer afford their insurance. So we've got to make sure we fix Obamacare that's broken. And that is really sort of the rallying, unifying cry. We're edging towards a compromise. I don't think we're there yet.

CUOMO: Hey, let me ask you one last, quick question.


CUOMO: Any chance, in your mind, senator, at this point -- and, by the way, please consider this show and ongoing opportunity for you.

CAPITO: Thank you.

CUOMO: We know this matters. We know that there has been intentional or otherwise a lack of debate about the issue. You're always welcome here to come on and speak to what matters to your constituents.

CAPITO: Thanks, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: So, do you think there's any chance that there may be a change of approach after this break, especially when you all get to go home and hear how the men and women and those families feel about this, that you go to the Democrats and say, all right, look, we know we have problems in some of these exchanges. Even you know it on the Democrat side. Let's fix those problems and go step-by-step, kind of like what we saw happen with immigration. Instead of doing it in one big cut, let's take it piece by piece. Any chance or is there too much political pressure to do repeal and replace?

CAPITO: I think we're absolutely dedicated to fixing. And so I think that we'll have to see how this particular bill, where we can reach a compromise -- if we can reach a compromise on Friday. But I think it doesn't close the door in the end. If, for some reason, it fails, I think we -- we then -- the floodgates would probably open to reach a bipartisan compromise. And so I think really Friday will be the most interesting day, I think, to see. I thought yesterday or today would be, but Friday will be the most interesting day to see if we can reach that compromise. And we're working hard at it. And we want to make sure it works for a lot of people and not just certain segments.

CUOMO: Well, senator, we named this show NEW DAY for a reason. You never know what you're going to get day after day.

CAPITO: You never know, right. Right.

CUOMO: Good luck with it. It depends -- a lot of people are depending on this change and what it will mean for them and their families. And, again, you're always welcome here to talk about what matters.

CAPITO: Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN ANCHOR: The White House doubling down with a stern warning for Syria's regime? Will Congress authorize military use of force? We'll ask independent Senator Angus King. That's next.


[08:36:04] CUOMO: So the headline is that the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has delayed the vote on the Republican bill. They felt they just didn't have the votes. And, remember, they were just going for 50, not 60, like they needed for the ACA, Obamacare. So what happens now? What changes will be made, can be made? Will it be enough?

Let's bring in independent Senator Angus King of Maine.

We just heard from Shelley Moore Capito. She has problems. She has a venerable population there. Medicaid dependent. Opioid ravaged. And she's worried about money being pulled out of the system. She says we are so committed to fixing, that it is not out of the world of consideration to work with the Democrats and do this on a smaller scale step-by-step even. Do you believe that there is any legitimate chance of that?

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Well, I think there is a legitimate chance of that if this bill fails. If the bill passes, of course, it's going to go to the House. I talked to some House members last night. They'll pass it probably without even looking at it. It will go to the White House and be signed. So, if that happens, it's all over and it's all over for a lot of people, by the way. But if it doesn't happen, then I think there's -- there's no choice but to start talking, and that's what we should have done in the first place. I suggested last night a really radical idea, refer this bill to committee, have hearings, get some input, have some debate and discussion on a bipartisan basis and maybe we can come up with some practical solutions.

CUOMO: There is a new wrinkle in the reckoning of what this bill might do. We had Senator Ron Johnson on here. He says the CBO got it wrong, they were using the wrong baseline. And if you use the right baseline, it turns out this bill winds up being flat. Nobody really gets thrown off the Medicaid rolls. Do you believe that?

KING: No. And here's the -- the simply reality, you can argue about projections and baselines and all of that. This bill takes over $1 trillion. I think it's $1.1 trillion out of the health care system over the next 10 years. That's $400 million or $500 million a year, by the way, in Maine. You can't take that kind of money out of the system and say nobody is going to be hurt. I mean that just doesn't pass the straight face test. That's the simplest way to look at it, Chris. It's a minus $1.1 trillion of now support that are going into people's premium supports under the ACA or Medicaid. And, you know, that's why -- you know, why are the hospitals all against it? Why are the medical associations against it? Why is the AARP against it? It's not because of the CBO score, it's because they know that it will be absolutely devastating.

WARD: Senator, Clarissa Ward here. I wanted to get your opinion on one of the other big news stories today, which of course is the White House essentially saying to the Assad regime, there will be very serious consequences if there is another chemical attack. We heard also the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, saying it won't just be the Assad regime that would be held accountable. It would be the Assad regime's backers in the form of Russia and Iran. What's your response to this and do you think that Congress needs to be involved before we can talk about any show of force against the Assad regime?

KING: Well, first, let me say that the chemical weapons use is absolutely unacceptable and it should be responded to. President Obama should have responded to it back in, I think, 2013 and '14. And so some kind of response to a chemical weapon use I think is appropriate and a warning is appropriate to hopefully prevent any chemical weapon use.

Here's what's worrying me, however. We're starting to see this kind of, well, we're going to respond in different ways and maybe we'll talk about the people who are working with Assad. And all of a sudden you're talking about a much larger commitment of military force in Syria.

And the answer to your last question is, yes, Congress should be involved. That's our responsibility. That's our constitutional responsibility. And there's no authorizing that I believe that gives any weight to troops or serious invocation of force in Syria. So, yes, Congress should be involved. But what worries me, Chris and Clarissa, is an escalation based on the pretext of the chemical weapons that ends up with us engaged in one of the most complicated, difficult and messy confrontations on earth.

[08:40:25] WARD: But you would be -- you would anticipate broad support at least for the types of strikes that we saw after the last chemical attack?

KING: I think that's true. I think nobody wants to say, you know, we're just going to stand by and watch chemical weapons be used. They've been banned worldwide since World War I. This is an international expectation and moral norm. And there has to be some response to that.

But, you -- again, it's -- you know, if you start to move into, well, we're going to talk about who's behind this, well, everybody knows who we're talking about. We're talking about Russia and Iran. And then we're talking about -- again, it's an escalation. You -- you look at history and it always starts with some small incident and then by the time you are in a major confrontation, people say, how did this happen?

And I want -- the other piece of this, Clarissa, is -- and this is Republicans and Democrats, everybody, me up here, we want to see a strategy from this administration, not ad hoc interventions. But, what's the strategy in Syria? What are we committed to? What is our goal? What is our end game? What is our exits strategy? And so far we haven't seen that. And doing war on an ad hoc basis is very dangerous and I don't think the American people are prepared to support a major U.S. intervention in Syria.

WARD: You raise a lot of important questions there. Senator, thank you so much for joining us.

KING: Thank you. Yes, indeed.

WARD: Well, coming up, a New Jersey mom who put a human face on the health care fight by tweeting her young son 's astronomical -- you're not going to believe it when you see it -- hospital bill. What she wants the GOP to know. That's coming up.


[08:45:42] CUOMO: All right, it's time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delaying a vote on the GOP health care plan until after the July 4th recess. Why? Well, at least nine Republicans now say they oppose that bill.

WARD: President Trump's long time confident, Roger Stone, set to testify behind closed doors next month before a House panel investigating Russian election hacks. The same panel questioned Hillary Clinton's former campaign chairman, John Podesta, yesterday.

CUOMO: A global cyberattack crippling businesses around the world. The Ransomware incidence, first reported in Russia and Ukraine, raising concerns many businesses still have not secured their networks from aggressive hackers.

WARD: And three Chicago officers now charged with trying to cover up the deadly 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald. The officers are accused of lying to prevent the officer who shot and killed McDonald from being investigated.

CUOMO: Venezuela's president condemning a helicopter attack against the country's supreme court. He calls it an act of terrorism. Look at this video. This came online of the alleged pilot who stole the chopper, declaring his opposition to the Venezuelan government.

WARD: For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CUOMO: Coming up, putting a humanizing face to healthcare. You keep hearing it's not just about numbers, it's about people. You're going to meet a mom who posted on social media the massive hospital bill for her young son's surgeries and treatments. What did this mean to her? What should it mean to you? Next.


[08:51:14] WARD: While lawmakers on Capitol Hill battle over health care, our next guest is putting a human face on this debate. Alison Chandra's three-year-old son Ethan has a rare genetic disorder. He's already had several open heart surgeries. Alison tweeted the astronomical hospital bill for her son's most recent surgery and it went viral. The surgery was covered under her husband's health care plan. But if they didn't have insurance, that bill would have surpassed $230,000. $230,000.

Alison joins me now.

And we should note, you were never on Obamacare, right? Is that right?

ALISON CHANDRA, MOTHER OF SERIOUSLY ILL CHILD: Well, I mean, Obamacare isn't one insurance plan.

WARD: Right.

CHANDRA: Obamacare is a set of regulations that govern insurance plans. So we are protected by Obamacare.

WARD: Right.

CHANDRA: If that makes sense. WARD: Yes.

CHANDRA: We were on Medicaid, yes.

WARD: You were on Medicaid.


WARD: So you would potentially fall victim. If the bill passed as is, what would that mean for you?

CHANDRA: Well, this bill -- the reason I wanted to share our story was to bring a part of the conversation that maybe people aren't talking about as much. The fact that this affects not just people who get their insurance through the health care exchanges, what everyone kind of refers to as Obamacare, but it also affects those of us who are covered under employer plans because the ACA is a set of protections. It's a set of regulations. It says that any insurance plan, even an employer one, has to cover certain things, can't stop paying out benefits when they've decided that my kid is too expensive.

WARD: I just want to go through this medical bill with you that you've -- I mean because it is just staggering. $40,000 CAT scan. $47,000 for coronary care. Another $40,000 for O.R. services.


WARD: What made you decide to tweet this bill?

CHANDRA: It's so funny because as you're reading that, you're reading lines on a bill, and I'm having memories of specific things that happened with my child. The CAT scan was an emergency because we thought he had had a massive stroke. He was non-responsive. He was needing to have his breathing tube put back in and we literally ran through the halls of the hospital down to the CT machine with him. So it's a line on a bill to you, but it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life to me. And there's no -- the price doesn't matter because this is -- this is -- this is my son's life we're talking about.

WARD: And is that what's missing in this whole debate, that, you know, the lack of a human face, the lack of an understanding, that we talk about $22 million this and -- but we don't realize we're talking about people, we're talking about Americans, we're talking about a beautiful three-year-old boy here.

CHANDRA: Almost three. Almost three.

WARD: Almost three. Three on Saturday.

CHANDRA: Saturday. Saturday. Happy birthday, Ethan. Yes.

WARD: But does that frustrate you?


WARD: Do you feel that that humanity is kind of lacking in the political debate?

CHANDRA: Yes. And -- and, look, I get it. I'm not naive. I understand that there has to be talk of money. There has to be budgets. I get that. But that can't be the only discussion. When you talk numbers, you have to realize that every single statistic is a human life. Does that make sense?

WARD: It makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense. And I hope everybody is sort of listening to that message because I do think it sometimes gets lost.

Let me ask, based on your experience, I'm sure you talked to other parents as well who have been through similar --


WARD: Are they saying the same thing? Are they feeling the same thing as you are, the same frustration?

CHANDRA: Well, OK, so this -- this was interesting. I -- when I first tweeted this, I basically thought I was kind of screaming to an empty room. I thought maybe my granny, my 87-year-old granny, and maybe 100 other people would hear it. But it turned out that it wasn't just granny that was listening, it was the entire country. And my messages have been flooded with other stories of other parents.

[08:55:20] So I started out trying to just tell our story and really only wanting to tell our story. But now I feel like I've been given a chance to have a voice for people who haven't been able to speak out for feel like they're heard. And every single family that messages me says the same thing, you're fighting for my kid, too. Keep fighting. And so I don't have any other choice. That's all I know -- that's all I know how to do.

WARD: So you have this voice. What would be your message right now if President Trump was watching? What would be your message to him, your take away?

CHANDRA: I would want to ask him to look my kid in the eyes, to realize that when he puts pen to paper to sign a law, that he is signing something that's going to have a real effect on real people on real families all across the country. If he wants to be a president for our people in this country, then he needs to start listening to our voices.

WARD: Powerful words. Alison, thank you for joining us. We're wishing Ethan a very happy birthday for Saturday.

CHANDRA: Thank you.

WARD: Chris.

CUOMO: Hey, such an important conversation. Thank you, mom, for bringing it here with that beautiful picture of your little boy.

Clarissa, great conversation. CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up right after this break. Thanks for being with CNN.


[09:00:05] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.