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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

23 Million to Lose Insurance Under Republican Health Care Bill. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired May 24, 2017 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:03]

RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: More than 15,000 students would lose access to the program in Texas, another state Trump won.

A cut of $193 billion over 10 years from SNAP, a program that helps over 42 million low-income Americans put food on the table. CNN found seven of the 10 states that have the largest share of people on SNAP voted for Trump.

Farm subsidy cuts would reduce spending on things like crop insurance. The budget also eliminates economic development programs in rural communities like Appalachia, including West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

REP. BILL JOHNSON (R), OHIO: I live in Appalachia. When the money gets doled out, I know, personally, from history, where that -- how that money gets allocated.

MARSH: After the budget rollout, Director Mick Mulvaney getting some pushback from Republican lawmakers.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: My reaction is, it's probably dead on arrival.

MARSH: But don't expect Trump voters to give up on the man they elected just yet.

STEPHEN VOSS, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY: If and when people start feeling the pinch in their pocketbook or even if they are doing OK, but they see their family members, their communities suffering, that's usually when you will see a real political shift.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: Well, many are calling this had a messaging document. It spells out essentially the administration's priorities, but even some of his own Republicans cannot fully embrace it.

At this point, Jake, I think that's safe to say that the budget will not look exactly like this when it does pass.

TAPPER: It never does.

MARSH: No. TAPPER: But it's a good blueprint.

Rene Marsh, thanks so much.

Let's talk with our panel about all of this.

Mary Katharine, let me start with you.

I remember Tucker Carlson asking President Trump a few months ago about how his health care plan was going to hurt a lot of his supporters. Here, we have a budget proposal that also might hurt a lot of Trump voters.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think it's important that it's not a budget that will end up being the budget.

TAPPER: Right, of course.

HAM: Many Obama budgets got zero votes from a Democratic Senate.

TAPPER: Absolutely.

HAM: so that's how these things roll out.

But also I think a couple things. One, it's an odd document, in that it's not terribly coherent. You're taking all these -- attempting to get savings from these discretionary programs and ignoring what Republicans have been talking about for decades, which is the real driver of our spending problems, which is the health care stuff and Social Security.

Republicans have been on this for a while, in fact, in House races have proven that it's not the third rail and you actually can talk about it and can look forward and try to make some reforms not affecting the people who are currently getting these promises that they paid in on.

Trump doesn't want to touch them. He made that fairly clear. And that, to me, is really the most telling thing about this document. As far as Trump voters are concerned, I think they voted for him for different reasons than policy often. And I'm not sure that they are going to be policy wonks about this document that doesn't even become law.

TAPPER: And, Abby, two people who are deeply involved in the budget process, Mick Mulvaney, who used to be a Freedom Caucus Republican congressman, and Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, they would love a budget that reforms Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, but the president, no interest in it.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

And I think what you're seeing here is what we often see with this White House, is that they're reverse-engineering policy from the president's statements. They have to start from wherever he started with a policy that was set forth without having really gone through the numbers, without having really thought through how it would work out in practicality.

And now we're here with a budget document that essentially does backflips to try to achieve deficit reduction over the long term without touching entitlements, and in order to do has made draconian cuts all throughout the rest of the budget, while also increasing defense spending, and, by the way, throwing a few million dollars in there for the budget for the border wall.

So it's a hard thing for them to do. And that's why the budget itself, when you talk to economists and experts, many of them say it just doesn't make sense. The numbers don't really add up. And it's because the policy was not created with sort of real numbers in mind when it was thought out.

TAPPER: We're going to squeeze in a quick break right here, because we just got the CBO numbers, the analysis of the health care bill. We're going to take a look at it and talk about it when we come back.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:38:15]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

TAPPER: We have breaking news in the politics lead.

The Congressional Budget Office just released its scorecard on the new Republican health care bill, the one that passed a few weeks ago.

Let's go back to CNN's Phil Mattingly, who is on Capitol Hill for us.

And, Phil, I know you're just reviewing the document right now, but give us the highlights.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the top line I think that everybody is going to focus on first and foremost 23 million people would become uninsured over the course of a 10-year period because of the House health care bill act.

Now, that actually a is one-million person increase than what we saw in terms of people that would maintain insurance from the original bill. That bill had the number at 24 million. Now, for purely procedural reasons, the other key number everybody was paying attention to is the amount of deficit reduction.

In order for this bill to actually even move over to the Senate, they needed to save at least $2 billion over the course of a 10-year period this. This bill saves $119 billion, according to the CBO, so at least procedurally, everything is good to go. The bill will move over to the Senate.

House leaders have actually been holding onto the bill the last couple of weeks in wait for this number. But, again, the top-line number again, which I think is most noteworthy and everybody is going to be talking about, and Democrats are certainly going to attack on, 23 million people over a 10-year period would lose access to insurance because of the bill.

And I think it's noteworthy, obviously. Republicans say very clearly, Jake, that they don't believe the CBO models reflect conservative policy. They don't believe the CBO models are an accurate assessment of where their bill would actually be based on the changes that they are trying to implement here.

But there's no question about it. This was a damaging number when this number first came out in March, that 24 million number, particularly for moderates. So as this heads over to the Senate now, this will certainly be a headline that everybody is paying attention to.

One other key point, and I think this is noteworthy. When you talk to senators who are involved in this process on the Republican side of things, they have made very clear they are rewriting this bill. The only number that really mattered was making sure procedurally this could move forward. That was the deficit reduction bill.

[16:40:07]

But, as we talked about earlier, Jake, the issues that have cropped up in the House debate are the same ones that are cropping up in the Senate debate. And one of those primary issues is the Medicaid expansion.

Obviously, this was a huge part of Obamacare. This was a huge part of the coverage increases that we have seen nationwide over the course of the last seven years. There's no question about it. As they freeze and then phase out the Medicaid expansion, as they reform the Medicaid program, as they apply $880 billion in cuts to that Medicaid program, coverage loss is almost certainly going to happen.

That's a big debate over in the Senate. It's going to continue to occur. So while they will certainly be rewriting large portions of this House bill, these numbers matter, and these numbers will certainly apply to the debate going forward.

TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill for us, thank you so much.

Let's dive right in with the panel.

And, Jen, Republicans in the Senate, particularly who were hoping for a better number, although they are going to rewrite their own bill anyway, 23 million, it's only one million better -- the 23 million who will not have insurance by 2026.

We should point out that a few million of those are people who voluntarily will opt out of insurance. Not all of them will just be cut out of the system, but it's still a number that's not going to help moderate Republicans especially sell this back at home.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Look, I think this is not remarkably different from what we saw with

the last CBO score. It's probably not going to be a major factor for people who are for or against it. It's just another piece of information setting up for the Senate debate or the Senate preparing their own bill.

Ultimately, the measurement should be what the status quo is vs. what this CBO score says that this bill would potentially do. We know the Senate will entirely rewrite the bill, but this will probably put more pressure on them to address things, like the Medicaid cuts, which a number of senators have been very vocal about how unacceptable that would be.

I don't know how vocal they will be, or if they will go to McConnell. It could a combination of both, and some of the other concerning parts of the House bill. So this is just a reminder to people of how devastating this is.

I don't think it's going to be a major factor in terms of moving people who are on one side or the other.

TAPPER: Mary Katharine?

HAM: Yes, I think it's important to keep in mind it's not 23 million people losing the health insurance they have. There are many people who, despite a mandate being in place, would opt out and have opted up under Obamacare over many years, despite the fact that CBO said it was going to solve all these problems and it didn't.

The other number that's important is CBO predicting premiums would drop 20 percent in markets that waived some of Obamacare mandates. And that's the part I have been talking about, which is these essential health benefits. If you allow people to have some flexibility about what goes in these plans, then perhaps you can get lower some numbers, which, by the way, is why it was called the Affordable Care Act from the beginning, because people wanted affordable care.

This would offer them some more options, theoretically. It will change a lot in the Senate. But that's something that Americans actually are asking for. And there was a federal study just this week that came out from HHS saying that over the past four years, Obamacare contributed to doubling premiums. So if you can bring those down and make that argument, that helps you a bit. You also have this other side.

TAPPER: Yes. And that is a number, the 20 percent reduction in premiums in states where they decide to opt out of some of the Obamacare mandates, that's something I suspect we will hear a lot from Republicans.

PHILLIP: Right.

And I think overall the premium question is one of the most -- the outstanding issues to the left here. I think the White House would tell you that the rest of the health care reform plan is still unrealized and not taken into consideration with the CBO score.

TAPPER: Right. This is just phase one.

PHILLIP: This is phase one. They have other phases.

But one thing to look at when it comes to premiums is not just what is the immediate effect, but what is the long-term effect and also what's the effect on people who are in different parts of the sort of age range here? What's going to be the effect on older Americans?

So I think some of these issues will need to be sorted out, particularly in the Senate side, where they are very sensitive to the effects, not just on an individual district, but on an entire state. What is going to be the effect for the entire state population in places where maybe they do get rid of essential health benefits?

But that's something that is very popular. People in that state want or need them or believe that it's important to have them. I don't think these issues are going to be just as easy as sort of saying, let's get rid of this mandate and prices will go down.

I think you are going to have a lot of pushback on some of those basic...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: And, Jen, there are winners and losers in all these plans.

And one of the problems that every politician, whether Obama or Paul Ryan, has is they try to pretend as though there are no losers, only winners, but older Americans having their premiums go up, that's politically more difficult than younger Americans, because older Americans vote more than younger Americans.

PSAKI: That's right.

I would also say that the essential benefits package is not cost-free to just get rid of it. While the premiums may go down, that means that millions of women who rely on maternity care could lose that. That means that people who rely on coverage for asthma and a lot of things that are covered by the essential benefits package could be lost.

So we may not know the political impact of that right away, but we could certainly know it in the next couple of years. Young people, yes, young people would be helped here, but those are not -- young people are not the people who need health care the most in terms of relying on it for sickness and disability. That's older...

(CROSSTALK)

HAM: But the problem is, the young people are the people you need in the system to make the system work. And we're actively chasing them out of the system with the premium rises and with the deductible rises that we're having. Also, nobody is suggesting that all the essential health benefits would go away immediately. This is waiver process that would - you would go through in various states and I would imagine that based on the politics -

PSAKI: That many states will do - that many states will do and then people will lose and that's the problem.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: You know what, we'll come - we'll have you guys back when we have - when we've all had time to actually read the CBO report. But thank you one and all for rolling with this during this breaking news. We appreciate it.

Still to come, Caroline Kennedy here with a rare and exclusive look at the tribute she made for her father for the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth. You're not going to want to miss this. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:50:02] TAPPER: Welcome back with our "NATIONAL LEAD" today, next Monday, May 29th, it's Memorial Day but it's something else too. It's what would have President John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday. A big moment for those who revere admire the youngest man ever elected to the Office of President and a man who only served 1,037 days because he - of that traumatic afternoon in Dallas in 1963. The JFK legacy, however, lives on and here to talk about President Kennedy's legacy exclusively with CNN is Caroline Kennedy, she's President John F. Kennedy's daughter and also the former U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Thank you so much for being here. We really appreciate it.

CAROLINE KENNEDY, JOHN F. KENNEDY'S DAUGHTER: Thank you.

TAPPER: It's quite nice. The JFK Presidential Library and Foundation is set to unveil a special video message this evening to commemorate the 100th anniversary featuring your children, JFK's only grandchildren. You're giving us graciously this first look at it, so why don't we roll this video and then we can talk about it afterwards.

KENNEDY: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNEDY: It would be my father's 100thbirthday. I've thought about him and missed him every day of my life. Growing up without him was made easier thanks to all the people who kept him in their hearts, who told me that he inspired them to work and fight and believe in a better world, to give something back to this country that has given so much to so many. I remember hiding underneath my father's Oval Office desk when I was little and sitting on his lap on the Honey Fitz. He would point out the white shark and purple shark who always follow the boat although I could never quite see them. He said they especially like to eat socks and would have his friends throw their socks overboard which I loved. President Kennedy inspired a generation that transformed America. They marched for justice. They served in the peace corps, in the inner cities and outer space. His brothers carried on that work fighting against poverty, violence, and war, championing human rights, health care and immigration. As my father said in his inaugural address, this work will not be finished in our lifetime. It's up to us to continue to pass these values on to our children and grandchildren.

TATIANA SCHLOSSBERG, JOHN F. KENNEDY'S GRANDDAUGHTER: One of defining relationships in my life is with someone I've never met, my grandfather, President John F. Kennedy. It's a little odd to be connected to someone you don't know, especially when everyone else has access to much of the same information about him that you do. Throughout my life, I have been able to connect with my grandfather through the study of history which I know he loved. Both studying his life and studying the eras and patterns that fascinated him. To me, that's where he lives, as a historical figure rooted in the past but also as a person connected to so much of what came after him, through his writings and from the stories my relatives have told me. But while my grandfather had reverence for the past and the lessons they could impart, he also knew that America was a country where change was possible, that we aren't bound solely by tradition if we understand the past with which we are breaking.

ROSE SCHLOSSBERG, JOHN F. KENNEDY'S GRANDDAUGHTER: I'm inspired by my grandfather's sense of equality, his courage in naming the injustices in American society and his call for action. His words and his ideals mean so much to me and to the world we live in today, but we're still faced with tremendous inequality and injustice from voting rights to our criminal justice system and mass incarceration. My grandfather would be proud how far we've come as a nation since 1963 but he would have been the first to tell us we have a long way to go. I hope everyone regardless of age or party will remember what President Kennedy told America decades ago. This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds, it was founded on the principle that all men are created equal and the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

JOHN SCHLOSSBERG, JOHN F. KENNEDY GRANDSON: President Kennedy was elected on a platform of challenges and not promises, not for what he would offer the American people as President but what he would ask of them. My favorite peach is that one that President Kennedy gave at Rice University where he makes the case for sending a man to the moon. He said that that challenge was worthwhile not because it would be easy but because it would be so hard. My generation will inherit a complicated world with countless unsolved problems. Climate change is just one of them but it's the type of challenge that I think my grandfather would have been energized about and eager to solve. He cared deeply about the environment, about science and technology and he recognized that only if America leads the world in solving global problems can we make sure that it's done right. From that speech at Rice and from the space program he helped launch, we can learn a simple but important lesson. Great challenges are opportunities, and it is each generation's responsibility to meet those challenges with the same combination of energy, faith, and devotion that President Kennedy and his contemporaries displayed decades ago. I know that we're up to the task but we have to demand action from our leaders and we have to vote.

KENNEDY: As his family, we're so proud of what my father stood for during his life and how powerful those values remain today. I hope that these reflections on President Kennedy's life and his influence on those of us who share his legacy will encourage people all across the United States to look at challenges in their own corner of the world and seek solutions that heal, lift up the forgotten and make a difference in the lives of others. Thanks for watching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:55:17] TAPPER: Powerful video. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Really appreciate it.

KENNEDY: Thank you. I think it was a - it was a labor of love for me and my children, and I think they each spoke really so eloquently to what this legacy means to them.

TAPPER: Why a video message as a way of commemorating? Obviously coming - you know, his - your father's 100th birthday is coming up Monday. I'm sure there was a lot -- there were a lot of people wanting you to talk, wanting your children to talk.

KENNEDY: Well, as he becomes part of history, I think, it's important to show sort of what he still means to us as a person, and I think - I think each of my kids had a different slightly take on it, but there's a lot of emotion there, and I think that probably is something that we could share better on camera.

TAPPER: I love that story about your dad telling you about the white shark and the purple shark following you and making his friends throw socks in. It's such a - it's such a great corny dad joke. But I do wonder hearing it like, is it difficult having your dad be this icon that the rest of us feel like we have a sense of and we have a take on, and he's part of our lives in a way, and you actually knew him?

KENNEDY: Well, I think really he sort of - growing up he was sort of part of everyone's life, and so that was a very special and unique thing for me, but I think it really meant a lot, and I think it made it a lot easier, and I had so many relatives obviously as well, so the fact that people would come up to me every day and say, you know, I got involved in my community because of your father's inaugural speech, and even when I was in Japan, people were still telling me that they had memorized that speech, that they were so inspired by President Kennedy's vision of service and of American leadership that I think that that really kept him alive.

TAPPER: There aren't a lot of inaugural speeches that people are still quoting from.

KENNEDY: Right.

TAPPER: I mean, when you think about it. Why was it important to have your children? I mean, we don't see Rose, Tatiana, and Jack, there - you know, they're kind of - they're private figures.

KENNEDY: Well, I think the point here is that - that he is a historical figure. 100 years is a really long time, but I think his legacy and values are timeless and live on, and we want to encourage younger people today who are still very curious about President Kennedy to connect with those values, to connect with his message of justice and service and courage, and so - and innovation and experimentation and the belief in America, so they I think are the best people to take that message forward into the 21st century.

TAPPER: Your daughter, I believe it was Rose, said - or it might have been Tatiana, actually, that growing up she never even met him so she learned about him the same way that I learned about him in school. What did your kids ask you about him when they were growing up?

KENNEDY: I can't - well now they're older so I think that they were both interested in anything that I remembered which are mostly childhood memories, so when they were little, we could talk about those things and hiding under the desk and my pony or my pets and I know when my uncle Teddy came to talk to their classes, he would always talk about all the pets that had lived in the White House, things like that. But as they got older I think they really became interested in the issues and the relevance today. So many of the issues that we - that are now on the - on the - in the headlines had their roots in the 1960s, whether it's working through multilateral institutions like the U.N. or environmental movement and civil rights obviously inspiring the civil rights movement around the world. So I think that really - it is study history really isn't just about the past, it's really about what kind of a world do we want to create for the future.

TAPPER: Your dad was so erudite and proud of his intellect and his - and his wit. What do you think he would make of politics today? That's maybe a tough one.

KENNEDY: Well, I think that, again, I went back actually and I was looking at his speech that he gave right before he became President and he said history will judge us by four qualities, courage, integrity, dedication, and judgment so I think that that's how he would judge politics today, and I think, you know, everybody can make up their own mind.

TAPPER: One last question and that is, you don't do a lot of interviews like this about your father. Is it tough to do?

KENNEDY: Well, it's a lot easier to do with my children, and I think I'm so proud that they are you know, proud of his legacy, and I think having a chance to share it with them and with another generation makes it - it makes it a lot more fun more me or enjoyable.

TAPPER: Well, it's an inspiring legacy and we're so honored that you came here to talk to us about it.

KENNEDY: Thank you. Thank you.

TAPPER: Thank you so much.

That's it for THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now, breaking news, missed deadlines.