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Trump Ends Health Subsidies; Collins Announces Stay; Bleacher Report; Chipping at Obama Legacy. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired October 13, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:32:02] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President Trump announcing he will no longer pay Obamacare subsidies for poor Americans. Nearly 6 million Americans qualify for those subsidized health care cost and they could soon see their premiums skyrocket.

So joining us is CNN's senior economics analyst and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and the president of the American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz- Eakin.

Great to have both of you here. You guys are experts in everything that we need this morning.

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACTION FORUM: So, Douglas, let me start with you for, you know, you are perfect because you were at the CBO.

So, what will this do? What is the impact of the president ending these cost sharing subsidies for the lowest income Americans?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: So, I think the first thing to note is, that the courts have ruled that it's illegal for the president to make these payments. In fact, the Congress was really the body that should be appropriating this money and delivering it to the insurers on behalf of low income Americans and that just hasn't happened. So the president's in a very tough position and has just decided to stop paying them.

Having said that, I think there will be less impact on low income Americans than one might think. The insurers, to my knowledge, have basically been anticipating this. They have filed for bigger rate increases, large rate increases. A big sticker stock there for some people.

CAMEROTA: On whom? Who's -- who's going to foot the bill -- who's going to foot the bill for those rate increases?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: The taxpayers are because for the people eligible for those subsidies, they're in so-called silver plans in the exchange. When the premiums go up, the subsidies go up, and they will continue to be shielded from --

CAMEROTA: Right, but the highest -- may -- like -- yes, but for -- HOLTZ-EAKIN: (INAUDIBLE) continue to be shielded from the cost. The taxpayer will pay the bill. In fact, it's more expensive to do it this way. It's cheaper to pay the cost-sharing money, but it's going to be more expensive. We're going to have these big subsidies. It's the unsubsidized people or the less subsidized people in the exchanges who face higher premiums, who ultimately get hurt by this.

CAMEROTA: Got it. So the higher income earners are about to see their premiums go up?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Yes, absolutely.


Secretary Reich, what do you think about this move?

ROBERT REICH, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, Alisyn, you know, for years Republicans have tried to repeal and replace Obamacare. And, in fact, even when they have three -- you know, they have the House and they have the Senate and they have the presidency, they tried three times to repeal and replace. They did not do it. And now Donald Trump is taking it on himself to undermine and subvert the act so that essentially millions of people are going to have to pay more, which means many, many millions of low income people are not going to have access to health care. I mean that's basically it.

How is he doing this? Well, he's doing it in a variety of ways. The most recent is, he's just simply going to stop the payments, the subsidies, to insurance companies so that they can finance low income -- the low income people.

Now, Doug said that these are -- the courts saying no. Now, actually, this is still stuck in the courts. It was stuck in the courts. We have not had -- the Supreme Court certainly hasn't ruled on this.

[08:35:02] CAMEROTA: Yes.

REICH: This is really an issue --


REICH: This really is an issue about whether you continue to provide coverage to low income people, and whether you continue to require that healthier people, in effect, subsidize poorer people and people with greater -- and sicker people. This is what it comes down to. And this is the guts of the act and this is what the Trump administration is basically unraveling.


I mean, Doug, you know that the president says that these have been bailouts for insurance companies to pay these subsidies.


CAMEROTA: But there is this debate about whether or not it's, as you say, illegal or whether or not it's still going through the court process.


CAMEROTA: It isn't a decided matter yet.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: It -- the district court has ruled. It could be appealed to the Supreme Court. There's no question about that. It is an ongoing legal issue. I think it's a -- it's an important legal issue.

But you step back from the legal part. If you want to have federal subsidies to low income individuals in the exchanges, the Congress should basically appropriate the money. That's its constitutional role. And, to me, you know, it's sort of trying to have it both ways to not vote for the money but then ask the president to do it, even though you sued him saying, oh, we -- you shouldn't be able to do that.

So this is a sort of mess politically. The fundamentals are real simple. These are an important part of the structures of the Affordable Care Act exchanges. There are particular policies that low income individuals get where they don't have a lot of out of pockets.


HOLTZ-EAKIN: That's the whole goal. When they show up, they don't have to pay out of pocket. They will continue to get that. The question now is, who foots the bill and who actually takes responsibility for the cost. And the Congress is avoiding that at the moment.


REICH: Well, I -- let me take a little bit of issue with Doug. I don't think that they will continue to get it. I think the premiums and co- payments --

HOLTZ-EAKIN: They will.

REICH: Are going to go up for -- particularly for poorer people because the insurance companies are not --

HOLTZ-EAKIN: No, but they can't. Bob -- Bob, with all due respect, they -- they can't.

REICH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait -- the insurance -- the insurance companies are not going to be getting the subsidies.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: They can't.

They aren't, I agree, and they're going to raise the premiums. But the policies of those individuals are a piece of legislation. They're going to get those policies. They're going to get subsidies that compensate them for the cost of those policies, which is really going to go up. It's everybody else.

CAMEROTA: You're saying it's just who pays for it. Right, the --

HOLTZ-EAKIN: The people who don't get the subsidies. They're -- that's the people who are going to get hit.

CAMEROTA: That's the (INAUDIBLE) is who's going to pay for it.


CAMEROTA: OK, but I want to move on --

REICH: Well, I think we're talking a difference that is really not very different. We -- there are a lot of people -- there are an estimated 6 million to 8 million people, I've seen the most latest estimates, who are going to not be able to afford health insurance because of this change. I mean you can -- we can debate exactly who they are --


REICH: But the fact of the matter is, they are lower income people.


REICH: They won't be able -- and why do this? I mean what's the point of doing this? Why is it necessary right now? Why, when we are spending tens of millions of additional dollars, Republicans and the Trump administration want to spend 45 to 80 million -- billions dollars additionally on the military next year. Why can't we afford $7 billion for lower income Americans for health care? That doesn't make any sense.

CAMEROTA: Last word, Doug.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: So this is -- I'm not going to disagree about that you have to decide your priorities. I think this is a two -- a two-part problem. Number one, do you have the Congress do it or do you have the president do it off the books? I think the Congress should do it. This is part of the law. The Congress should appropriate the money or get rid of the legislation. So I agree with that completely.

CAMEROTA: OK. Gentlemen, thank you very much for this debate.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we just had quite an event unfold, not just Alisyn's excellent interviewing skills, but Senator Susan Collins of Maine, she made this highly anticipated and unusually drawn out announcement about her future. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill with the breaking details.

And I've got to tell you, she had us going, Sunlen. Alisyn and I were going back and forth.

CAMEROTA: Is she? Isn't she?

CUOMO: Oh, she's running for governor. Oh, no, no, no, she's running for Senate. I think I lost the bet and won the bet at the same time. What happened? SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a big well-kept

secret, I should say, Chris, and certainly up until the last moment Susan Collins really first blasting Congress for their partisanship and then certainly making the pivot to announce what she called the elephant in the room here, will she or will she not run for governor of Maine. She decided that she will not run for governor of Maine. That means she is staying put here in the Senate. She says it was a tough decision. One that she deliberated on for many, many months. But, ultimately, she says she believes that she can be more productive here in the Senate.

Here's what she said moments ago.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: A key role in advancing policies that strengthen our nation, help our hard-working families, improve our health care system and bring peace and stability to a troubled and violent world. And I have concluded that the best way that I can contribute to these priorities is to remain a member of the United States Senate.


[08:40:11] SERFATY: Yes, you hear there Senator Susan Collins said key role, and that's an important bit that she revealed. She knows very well that she holds a very important and oversized role here in the Senate. As one of the few moderate Republicans, her voice really goes a long way. She, of course, killed two versions of the Republican health care bill. And so she alluded to that she intends to hold on to this power as they tackle legislative priorities in the future.

Chris. Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Man, she has mastered the art of the reveal. She had us on the edge of our seat waiting for her to day she's staying the Senate.

CUOMO: But it really was a continuation of her kind of folksy, endearing -- I mean you'll see the clips online. I mean it went on for a long time, which was a little curious, but she was making points that I think play to why people have really given her a sense of gravitas and importance in this ongoing Senate debate.

CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, despite the current controversy surrounding football, the passion that millions of Americans have for this national pastime still runs deep. This week's CNN hero is sharing that love of the game with kids who do not get to experience the excitement of the gridiron firsthand. Meet Blake Rockwell.


BLAKE ROCKWELL, CNN HERO: When you have a child who is dealing with a life-threatening illness, their treatment protocol might be two, three years, and their tanks start to go dry.

You going to go to youth camp? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am.

ROCKWELL: Awesome.

That game day experiences provide an opportunity for a family to get out as a family, just being there together. And days like this, they really motivate the kids to continue their fight.


CAMEROTA: All right, to see more of Blake's story, you can go to

CUOMO: All right, the Chicago Cubs advance to the NLCS. They had a wild victory over the Nationals. Highlights in the "Bleacher Report," next.


[08:45:12] CUOMO: The Cubbies one step closer to defending their World Series title. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report."

And, once again, you're looking good doing it.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's Friday. Who can't look good, right? The weekend is here. We made it.

Chicago proven they're fighters in the past. They had to win the final two games on the road to win the World Series last year. And Joe Maddon's Cubs were in the same spot last night. Having to win in Washington, D.C., against the Nationals in a winner go home game five. The Cubs on the road (INAUDIBLE) facing a 4-1 deficit.

But Chicago's Addison Russell, struggling this entire series, came through when his team needed him most. They gave him a spark with this double in the fifth, putting them up 5-4. In the end, they would still have to hold on for dear life. Up 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth, and closer Wade Davis finishes one of the biggest days of his career, helping the Cubs seal the deal.

Break out the champagne. Get the bottles popping. They're celebrating their third straight trip to the National League Championship Series. The Cubs are now going to face the Dodgers tomorrow night in game one at 8:08 Eastern on our sister channel TBS.

And don't forget tonight, in Houston, in game one of the National League Championship Series, those Astros hosting the New York Yankees.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Coy. Great to see you.

WIRE: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: Happy Friday.

President Trump dismantling President Obama's legacy one executive action at a time. How does David Axelrod feel about this? He's here with "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:50:55] CUOMO: It is Friday the 13th and the president using the occasion to raise anxiety on two fronts, dismantling the Obama legacy, ACA, by saying that he will not continue cost-sharing revenues that are essential to lower income people getting health care, and also decertifying the Iran nuclear deal today.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" on these moves with CNN's senior political commentator David "The Axe" Axelrod.

Congratulations on your Cubs.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you. Yes. one more step toward the big Cubs/Yankees World Series.

CUOMO: We'll leave that to the side for now. I want to keep the smile on your face.

What do you make of these moves, sir?

AXELROD: Well, look, there's no doubt that he seems -- the president seems highly motivated to, as you say, dismantle the Obama legacy. I'm less concerned about that than the impact of what he's doing. There are millions of people whose health care is now in question because of what he's doing. Premiums, the Congressional Budget Office suggests, will go up immediately 20 percent in these individual exchanges because of what he's doing. And he's been subverting the ACA kind of piece by piece.

I don't know if that is the motivation for him. But the impact is on people. The Iran deal, you know, his own national security team publicly said that Iran was complying with the agreement. So he is walking away from it.

That was his business practice. He broke contracts regularly in business. But when you do it on a global stage like this, you lose your allies, you lose trust and you create a dangerous situation.

So I'm -- personally, as someone who worked for President Obama, less concerned about the Obama legacy than the impact on national security and the security of families across the country.

CAMEROTA: And, in fact, you've been very candid about your personal interests in the Affordable Care Act.


CAMEROTA: Not only was it a big political victory, obviously, when you were there, but because you had a child with a pre-existing condition.

AXELROD: And went through a lot of the financial struggles that one does when your child has a pre-existing condition and you can't get insurance. CAMEROTA: Now, he's not going to touch the pre-existing conditions at

the moment. I mean that's one thing that seems the Republicans and Democrats keep agreeing on.

AXELROD: Although one of the impacts of what he's doing -- Alisyn, one of the impacts of what he's doing is that he is de facto creating a -- recreating a two-tier market where if you're healthy you can get insurance, and if you're not, it's much too expensive to afford. And that's going to be very, very difficult for people with pre-existing conditions.

CUOMO: And short term catastrophic care plans often don't cover pre- existing conditions. That's why they're cheaper so people will be (INAUDIBLE).

AXELROD: Right. I mean there's no secret to how you can lower the cost of health care if you sell junk health care policies, just as you can sell junk, you know, online college, as we've seen, you know.


AXELROD: So this is very -- you know, you feel like the president's ego is invested in dismantling the Affordable Care Act. I also think he believes that the base of his party is desperate for that, angry at Congress for not doing it. He wants to be seen as the guy who's doing it. So there's another political motivation for him. But the impact is going to be very serious for people.

CAMEROTA: I mean we've heard people on our air today saying that getting rid of the subsidies is fine. They've augured in favor of what the president is doing with these cost sharing subsidies, because they say that those were illegal, that they should b -- have been being paid to the insurers anyway.

AXELROD: Well, that, I'm sure, will be the subject of litigation now. But their argument is that Congress should do it.


AXELROD: OK, fine, well, let's see now if Congress will do it. If they don't, then the loss of insurance for millions of people, these skyrocketing premiums, will be on their hands.

CUOMO: Right.

The district court found that the sharing subsidies should have been done by Congress. It then went to appeal and both parties held it in (INAUDIBLE). So the litigation is not over.



CUOMO: But the early win was for the Republicans on this.

[08:55:00] Do you think that -- these are obviously both gambles. Do you think that the motivation really is the president, just to check a box that I kept my promise. You know, I said we'd get rid of repeal and I'm doing it. I said this Iran deal stunk. I'm doing this.

AXELROD: Yes. I think if you have the president here and ask him about the details of either the Affordable Care Act or the Iran deal, it would be a very sort conversation. I think everything to him is about the sort of curb appeal, the appearance, and he made these commitments and he wants to keep them.

I do think he also has some resentment to President Obama, who left as a very popular president. He is not a very popular president. I think that bothers him.

But, yes, I think he is mainly checking a box.

CAMEROTA: David Axelrod, great to have you here.

AXELROD: Good to be with you guys.

CAMEROTA: Be sure and watch "The Axe Files" tomorrow. David talks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Saturday, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, on CNN.

CUOMO: All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" -- CNN "NEWSROOM." Not as easy to say as you think.

CAMEROTA: No, it's much harder.

CUOMO: Poppy Harlow, John Berman, they have breaking news for you right after the break. Please, stay with CNN.

CAMEROTA: Have a great weekend.


[09:00:04] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.


The president, this morning, putting pen to paper in an effort to reverse two key Obama-era policies on health care and Iran after sharp criticism --