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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Bailed-Out Banks, Your Money; H1N1 National Emergency; TEA Party Express Rolls Again; Health Care Gender Gap; Memory Loss Mystery
Aired October 26, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, big banks: they wouldn't be in business without billions of your tax dollars so now that you've them out what are they doing? Spending a ton of money in Washington to weaken laws to protect you and the economy from them. We're "Keeping them Honest."
Also tonight, "Digging Deeper" into an alleged double standard: women paying more or getting turned down for health insurance, for having a C-section, being abused, even taking drugs to prevent HIV after a possible rape. The treatment one woman got may shock you. It sure shocked her and she knew the insurance business from the inside.
First up though, big banks getting tens of billions of bailout dollars your money and mine. We've already told you about bailed out banks getting massive perks. Well tonight, it gets worse.
We'll show you how they're spending big bucks in Washington lobbying against regulations aimed at protecting you and preventing the next economic catastrophe. They're saying that bailout money and lobbying money are somehow different. Critics say a dollar is a dollar is a dollar and billions of those dollars belong to you.
Either way Joe Johns is on the story tonight "Keeping them Honest" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, the hits just keep coming. Companies you bailed out now spending your money to write new rules that might work for them but might not work for you. We took a look at the top five spenders and two of the biggest spenders really stood out to us because they still haven't paid back the bailouts.
We're talking about Citigroup and Bank of America. Citigroup got $45 billion worth of bailout money. $4.4 million is what they've spent so far this year on lobbying. Bank of America got $45 billion from the taxpayers, too, just like Citigroup. B of A has spent about $1.5 million on lobbying this year.
KING: So Joe a lot of the banks remember back at the beginning of the bailout they said they didn't know how to track the money they couldn't distinguish between bailout money and regular funds ones once it got in the system; that they didn't quite know how it was being spent.
What are they saying now about this lobbying?
JOHNS: Well, both banks are saying what they've always said; they say they're not using federal funds to lobby the government. Bank of America sent us a statement, an e-mail that said flatly, quote, "We do not use TARP funds for lobbying" but no answer from them. And I did send them an e-mail back asking about it. They wouldn't tell us how they know that.
I talked to Citibank today. And they're claiming they know exactly where the bailout money is going and that it's not going for lobbying. They published a whole bunch of information for the public. They even sent us a bunch of charts and graphs.
But we did talk to one banking insider who doesn't work for Citibank who told us he just doesn't even know how you could trace that money. At some point you just have to figure a dollar is a dollar is a dollar whatever pot you keep it in.
KING: And, so, are they actually lobbying to fight the reforms that the administration and others say are necessary to prevent this from happening again?
JOHNS: Well, you know, you can't really get inside the lobbying head there. But this is a business. Citibank did say they're always trying to do whatever is in their best interests, of course. They're not always trying to stop legislation. And these banks are looking out for the shareholders.
That's not always the same thing, John, as looking out for the general public who kept these companies afloat with your tax dollars.
KING: Joe Johns, "Keeping them Honest" for us to night. Thank you, Joe.
Spearheading the legislative effort aimed at keeping the bank and Wall Street honest, and joining us now Democratic Congressman Barney Frank. He is Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee which recently approved legislation to establish a new Federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Chairman Frank thanks for joining us.
So Citigroup, Bank of America, banks that were bailed out using taxpayers money and have not paid that money back, now spending hefty amounts of money to lobby for their interest. Should they have to pay the money back before their lobbying? Is there something wrong here? Or is this just the way it is?
REP. BARNEY FRANK, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I'd like to get them to pay the money back. And the one thing I want to say is this, John. All the money in the world doesn't make them effective lobbyists right now. There are effective bank lobbyists that I'm working with and feeling the impact of. They're the community banks.
You know, money can do some things but it can't do everything. It can't erase the record of irresponsibility, poor judgment and abuse of consumers that too many of the big banks have run up. And we do want to differentiate. The local banks, the neighborhood banks and the credit unions hadn't done that.
So I'm very proud of our record. We passed a credit card bill over the big banks objection and when they then began to abuse -- they said we need time to work this out. But they needed time to screw more people. So the committee I chaired just wrote out a bill and I hope it will pass the House soon to speed up that effective date.
We're going to come up with a bill, we're going to have a bill next week to regulate their charging people overdraft fees; they do you a big favor. They give you the right to write checks beyond what you have in your account without asking you or telling you. And then if you do one, they charge you $50, $60 way more than the total expense.
Last week we passed as you noted and I appreciate that, the first agency in America dedicated solely in protecting consumers in the finance area, the American Bankers Associate thought it was a terrible idea. And I'm proud that they did.
KING: Well, I want to talk more about what you're proposing and what the obstacles for that are. I want to stay on the money just for just a minute because people get cynical about this.
I want to ask you about your position. You're the Chairman of this big powerful committee. Now, if you pick up the "Boston Globe," you would see since January you raised $1.2 million for your campaign, 32 percent more than you raised in the same three quarters last year and more than and all but one of your fellow House Committee Chairman.
You don't take money from the nation's biggest banks I want to make that clear. But you do take some money from people with business before the committee. Where does Barney Frank draw the line?
FRANK: Oh of course I do, I'm very proud of my record as an advocate for low-income housing. And I take money from the building trades that want to build that housing and from the agencies that build low income housing. What the article said John if you know, first of all, I do not accept money, I've stopped accepting money once the TARP came. I cut off accepting any money from the banks that were TARP recipients.
Secondly, big or small, I wouldn't take anything from them. Secondly, very high percentage of my money as you also pointed out comes from individuals.
Look, I happen to be kind of high profile. I get in a lot of fights. When you get in a lot of fights, a lot of people get mad at you, a lot of people are on your side. The people on your side give you money. I probably raise a lot of money from people on the other side who give in frustration and hoping they can make me go away.
Where I draw the line is this. I believe that we should have a public finance system. I very much regret that the U.S. Supreme Court has made America the only democracy in the world where we're not allowed to regulate campaign spending. You had this -- I think foolish notion by the U.S. Supreme court that that's inherent in democracy. If it, is we're the only democracy in the world because no other democracy has it. Given that, I will then, as I have to accept money. By the way, the money does not go primarily for my campaign. I am, because I'm the chairman of the committee, expected to give money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other Democrats and I do it.
So where people have been the direct specific recipients of funds and the programs I've been in-charge of, I won't accept money from them. But in terms of business before my committee, should I say no to anybody who has any housing interests? Any interests whatsoever in terms of the financial structure? That's unfortunately not the way the system is built.
But I think the test is look at the record. The committee I chair -- when the Republicans were in power from 1995 to 2006, no legislation got passed that regulated the banks or dealt with consumers with the exception of Sarbanes-Oxley, Mike Oxley did.
We have passed legislation on the committee I chair through the House to restrict bad subprime lending, to begin the process of internal derivatives, to protect consumers, to limit credit card abuses. So I guess I would ask people to look at the record and tell me where they think there has been bad influence.
KING: All right, Chairman Barney Frank. I'm going to ask you stay with us because we'll continue the conversation.
New ideas to protect your money after the break.
Also tonight 360 MD Dr. Sanjay Gupta answering your flu questions: a lot of concern out there right now about where to find the H1N1 vaccine, who should be getting it and what to do if you can't find it?
Also the pilots of Northwest Flight 188 tell authorities why they lost touch with controllers and flew right past their destination. When you hear it, though, even if you do believe it, no guarantees you'll feel any safer about boarding a flight.
KING: We're back talking about reining in Wall Street, even as banks and big financial companies spend big money, lobbying Congress against it. Lawmakers at the White House, even Republican appointed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke are pushing for major changes, especially concerning companies deemed quote, "too big to fail." In other words, companies that you and I end up bailing out.
Back now with Congressman Barney Frank, he's the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Mr. Chairman, you have this new plan to deal with these institutions deemed too big to fail. Help us understand how it works.
FRANK: Well, at several levels. First of all, there is going to be a systemic risk council. All of the bank regulators -- each bank regulator or financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Comptroller of the Currency, they now each have jurisdiction over their individual institutions. But they're focused on the health or failure of that individual institution or maybe investor protection for the SEC.
No one has the job of looking to see whether there's a systemic failure, and the systemic -- or a systemic failure, that can come from one either big overextended institution, like AIG, or a pattern of bad activity, like subprime loans.
This systemic risk council will have the duty of monitoring to see if any institution or any pattern is causing a risk. If it is, they will step in well before we're faced with this kind of collapse, so that, for instance, if this had been in existence years ago, they would have said to AIG, you may not sell any more credit default swaps. You are way overleveraged. You've got to increase your capital.
And they will be empowered to order them to -- they can break it up if it's too big. They can put limits on certain activities. They can allow them to do some activities and not others. And, then, if in fact, despite that, it begins to fail, we will do what we do with banks. We are going to use the bankruptcy authority of the Constitution to put these -- this regulatory body in charge of putting these people out of their misery.
As I have said, when the right-wing started talking about death panels, they were right for the wrong reason. We're going to have death panels. But they're going to be death panels that are going to put to death these institutions before they can cause us problems, not old people.
KING: So, let me ask you this.
How do you answer the billionaire George Soros, who writes in "The Financial Times" yesterday that, even if you have good ideas, this is the wrong time, that the business doesn't have its footing yet, the financial sector is still in a state of flux, and you need to wait?
FRANK: Because you don't wait until it's too late. I very much admire George Soros, but we're not saying that people can't go and do activity.
Apparently, implicit in what -- the quote you just gave me -- I haven't read the whole article -- is, well, it's either all or nothing. Either you have to let them be irresponsible or you choke them off.
I think they're capable of doing responsible things. And, by the way, people have said to me, well, you know, you may be cutting back on some of this activity. Yes, I think we should. Not all of that activity was useful. Look, the financial sector is supposed to be the means, not the end. The end is the production of goods and services. The financial sector has also been -- has always been called the intermediary. They gather up money from large numbers of people in relatively small amounts, bundle it, and make it available to people doing productive uses.
Over the last 20 years, with computerization and other factors, the end became -- the means became the end. They were gathering up that money not to help produce and finance productive activity, but to swap back and forth.
If they do less trading, if they -- you know, oh, Goldman Sachs made a lot of money trading bonds, who cares, other than the people making money from Goldman Sachs? The purpose of bonds is to raise money, so that people can then do productive activity or for municipalities to build roads.
I don't see any great value in Goldman Sachs and somebody else swapping them back and forth. And if they decide not to do it, we won't miss them.
KING: Let me ask you a quick health care question.
KING: The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, unveiled a proposal today that has a public option, but states could opt out of that government insurance plan designed to compete with competitors.
On the House side, would that sell?
FRANK: It would...
KING: Or do you believe and other progressive believe, no way, not enough?
FRANK: Look, we know the Constitution. And we know that, unfortunately, there's been a de facto amendment to the Constitution, so you need 60 votes to pass anything. That's a terrible fact, but it's a fact.
If that was the -- the best you could do, I could go for that, for this reason. I think the public option will be popular. I think having an option where you can go to a public entity, and not be at the mercy of the private insurance companies, will work.
So, I think what will happen is this. In those states -- and there will be many states which will have a public option, and it will thrive. And I think that will put a very useful attractive force. And so people in other states I think are much less likely to pull out.
KING: Chairman Barney Frank, thanks for your thoughts.
FRANK: Thank you, John.
KING: Take care, sir.
And up next -- next: separating flu fears from flu facts, with the H1N1 vaccine in short supply. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with answers you need to keep your family safe, even if you can't get them vaccinated for a while.
Also tonight, text 360: send us your questions and thoughts to AC360 or 22360.
KING: Over the weekend, President Obama declared swine flu a national emergency. According to the latest government estimates, the H1N1 virus has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States since April. And, right now, there isn't enough vaccine for everyone who needs or wants it.
The shortage has led to long lines at clinics across the country and frustration for those who are still waiting. Pregnant women and young children are at high risk. So, if you can't get the vaccine, what are you supposed to do and how worried should you be?
Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us, along with Erica Hill.
So, Sanjay, we get this emergency declaration over the weekend. Many people are asking on the 360 blog: is this really an emergency? And what is the effect of this?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is interesting.
And I think, when most people read this, they got a little bit more concerned about this. But it's important to remind people that, when you're talking about H1N1 sort of as a whole, this doesn't mean it's become any more serious in terms of the severity of symptoms, just that they're expecting it to become even more widespread than I think some of the initial estimates.
So, that is sort of the big message, not more severe, but more widespread. When you have a state of emergency in a medical sense like this, John, it is really more of a procedural thing.
A couple of examples. Let's say you have an emergency room that typically can take about a dozen patients, but because of the widespread nature of H1N1, you have 50 or 60 patients come to the ER at the same. This gives them the opportunity and the capability to set up sort of makeshift ERs. Maybe if they need to set up in a parking lot, another part of the hospital, this gives them that authority to do so.
Also, a thing that came up during Hurricane Katrina -- John, I remember this very well -- doctors from other states that may need to go to a particular state that is being hit hard, often you have to go through licensing procedures state to state. This sort of streamlines that process as well, so they can get resources into a state that needs it more quickly -- John.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, it's Erica.
HILL: In terms of those resources -- resources, the message about who's most at risk, specifically, pregnant women and young children, I feel like it's been repeated ad nauseam. So, does this declaration mean that it will be any easier to get the vaccine? Because, even if you know you're at risk, if you can't get the vaccine, it doesn't do you any good.
GUPTA: All I can say -- and, you know, I have asked the same question Erica -- is that -- because I have young children, so, selfishly, to some extent -- but, you know, that the pregnant women and young children are sort of at the front of the line.
But it is not nearly as well-equipped a line as people thought it should be. This has been moving much more slowly than I think anyone really thought. And I have been hearing the frustration now when I talk to my contacts at the CDC as well about that very point.
KING: Dr. Sanjay Gupta thanks.
GUPTA: Thanks, guys.
KING: Go to the health page at the new CNN.com for extensive information about H1N1, from the vaccine, to how to tell if you may have the virus. You will also find a map that tracks the spread of the H1N1 state by state.
Tonight, new information from two Northwest Airlines pilots who were out of touch with air traffic controllers for more than an hour, what they told investigators they were doing all that time.
First, though, some other important stories. Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: John, in Afghanistan, 14 Americans dead today in two separate helicopter crashes. Three federal drug agents were among those killed, making this a deadly single day for Americans in Afghanistan in more than four years.
In Baghdad, the death toll from twin bombings just minutes apart yesterday near the Green Zone now stands at, at least 160, and among those victims, at least 30 Iraqi children who were riding in a bus.
An autopsy found a former -- former associate of Bernard Madoff drowned after having a heart attack. Jeffrey Picower was accused of making more than $7 billion off of Madoff's Ponzi schemes and is targeted in a lawsuit by Madoff investors. The 67-year-old was found yesterday at the bottom of his pool at his Florida mansion.
And if you bought a Baby Einstein video and your baby didn't end up a prodigy, well, you can now get your money back. The Walt Disney Company offering cash refunds on Baby Einstein DVDs bought between June 5th 2004 and September 4th of this year, saying they will also exchange the books for a Baby Einstein book or music CDs. The videos have been targeted by complaints and even a threatened lawsuit over the company's early claims that the products were educational.
My son never had any, but he is super-smart.
KING: Nah, my kids were not that young in that time frame.
But, you know, the phrase...
HILL: They turned out all right, though, didn't they?
KING: "Too many lawyers" is the phrase that comes to mind.
KING: Up next, the TEA Party Express rolls again hitting more U.S. cities. What's their agenda and could it have an impact with voters?
And later, women and health insurance: evidence they're getting short changed because of their gender. And one eye-opening story of a woman, who thought she was raped, took anti-HIV medicine and was turned down for insurance because of it.
KING: (AUDIO GAP) tonight: a new wave of opposition rallies and rhetoric is rolling across the country with the return of TEA Party Express. Organizers are calling the bus tour "Countdown to Judgment Day." Their mission -- to boot the Democrats out of office in next year's mid-term elections.
The express began yesterday in California and ends in Florida on November 11th. The followers are loud and often angry. But do they represent a narrow slice of the American people or a wide swath?
Mark Williams is the TEA Party vice chairman and he joins us now. Mark, you just wrapped up round one, the first TEA party express last month. Why back out there so soon?
MARK WILLIAMS, VICE CHAIRMAN, TEA PARTY: Yes. Well, we were so inundated with Tea Party groups and individuals, other groups and places asking us why we didn't get to their location last time around. We came up with this one. And we call it "Count Down to Judgment Day" because that's one year from now the 2010 elections.
By the way, we're not looking to boot out Democrats. We're looking to boot out any politician who's abusing the American people by not exercising responsibility with our rights, our money, and our country.
KING: As you know, some of the reviews the first time around focused not on the issues, the issue of policy grievances of the people but on some of the images. There were some Afro-socialism signs, some swastika signs. I know you can't control what somebody brings to a political rally. But as a leader of this movement, is there a line where you say beyond this is out of bounds.
WILLIAMS: Yes. There are lots of things that are going to be out of bounds in my opinion and the movement's opinion. The reason why those became the issue was because those make for the dramatic TV pictures. The fact that there were exactly three of those witch doctor signs that I saw across country out of 38 cities made news.
But the fact that there were thousands, tens of thousands of signs by -- written by kids and older people, anybody in between expressing opinions on any number of legitimate issues, that doesn't make the news. I understand the concept of the outrageous to get attention. That doesn't define a movement.
I think anybody who wishes, especially if they feel they're being targeted by us to try to frame it in those terms, I think that's to their own detriment. There is a freight train rolling down the tracks and they're on the tracks.
KING: You mention trying to lead a move. Most are defined by one issue. You have so many different issues as part of your mix. It is harder to lead a coherent movement?
WILLIAMS: The trees of the forest all appear as different signs. The fact of the matter is, it's only one issue. And that is the future of the United States of America, our rights, our constitution and our ability to pass on to our children the same legacy of freedom and prosperity that our parents passed on to us.
And much of the focus will be on next year's midterm elections. But there's a race in New York's 23rd Congressional district shaping up to be a big test of your movement's power. There you have endorsed the grassroots conservative over the mainstream Republican establishment candidate.
Are you worried what you could end up doing here is allowing a Democrat because of that split to win the seat for the first time in 100 years?
WILLIAMS: If it's a conservative Democrat over a squishy Arnold Schwarzenegger Republican, I'm not worried about a thing.
The issue isn't -- the issue isn't Democrat or Republican or even individual politicians. It's ideology. And the word that I'm trying to get out is think for yourself, educate yourself, learn about the issues, and then when it comes time to cast your vote in 2010, sit there and think it through. The individual you're voting for or against, how did they fit into that? If that's a conservative Democrat or if that's a Republican, more power to you.
KING: Mark Williams, we'll watch you as you make your way across the country again. And we appreciate your time tonight. Take care, Mark.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
KING: Let us know what you think about the TEA Party Express. Join the live chat happening right now at ac360.com.
Next, health care and the gender gap: why do women pay more for their coverage? You'll hear from a woman who says she was denied health care because she believed she was raped. Her outrage ahead.
And mid air mystery, what happened for more than an hour when two pilots did not respond to air traffic controllers and flew past their destination and had to make a U-turn? An excuse tonight.
KING: The health care debate took a new turn today when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bill he is sending to the floor will include a government-run public plan that will allow states to opt out. Senator Olympia Snowe, the one Republican who voted for the senate finance committee's proposal said she is deeply disappointed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: It's regrettable because I certainly have worked in good faith all of these months and in a bipartisan basis. And as you know have been standing alone at this point as a Republican in order to do so because I believe in good public policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Snowe supports a trigger to force states to offer a public plan only if other reforms don't work. Supporters want a public plan to compete against private insurers which often refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions and cancel coverage when people get sick.
The woman you're about to meet lost her coverage after she was raped. We first saw Christina Turner's story on "Huffington Post" and "Keeping Them Honest" wanted to hear more. Anderson talked to her recently.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Christina, you were sexually assaulted in 2002 and then you lost your health insurance. What happened?
CHRISTINA TURNER, DENIED INSURANCE: Well, basically, I was dropped by the company after I had submitted a month's worth of anti- HIV medication because I was drug-raped. And I went to the doctor. She decided because there was no way to tell if my attacker wore a condom, she wanted to put me on anti-HIV medication.
Once I submitted my reimbursement for that because it was $1,000 a month and I submitted it for reimbursement, next thing I know, my insurance drops me. COOPER: It is standard practice in the event of a rape where it's not known whether the attacker used a condom or not, to go on anti-HIV medication for a month in order to protect yourself from possibly getting HIV.
COOPER: So you did that. You did what the doctor said. And then you suddenly get dropped. What reason did the insurance company give for dropping your coverage?
TURNER: Well, what they told me was that they did not receive payment which was sent. It was never -- the payment was never cashed. And that was the last thing on my mind was trying to balance a checkbook when I was in therapy trying to deal with my situation. I mean I didn't even leave my house for three months. I was in therapy.
Once they found out I was in therapy and on medication, I had to call and explain that I did not have AIDS, I was on preventative HIV medication so I wouldn't get it. And they said there is no way we can reinstate your coverage because I'm in therapy, on medication and I would need to go two to three years being HIV tested for free -- I mean, free HIV testing, that I don't have it to prove to them.
COOPER: And you weren't HIV-positive. Thank goodness you did not...
TURNER: Thank God.
COOPER: ... contract the virus.
TURNER: That's correct.
COOPER: Still, you could not get insurance after that.
TURNER: I'm a health insurance agent. I know how it works.
COOPER: Wait a minute, you're a health insurance agent?
TURNER: Yes, I am. I've been in the industry 27 years. And I've been an agent for 12 years. And I'm...
COOPER: What is that like to know this industry, to work in this industry and then all of a sudden to find that you can't get insurance?
TURNER: It felt -- I was traumatized all over again. That's how I felt. So what I did, being in the insurance field, I called the underwriters and said I have a hypothetical question. I have a woman that was raped. She was on AIDS medication only for a month. Her first test has been negative. What can we do?
They said depending on the company I talk to, they said you cannot get coverage. This person is not eligible for coverage until she goes two to three years of HIV-free testing and until she's out of counseling for two to three years and on no medication. So I was being condemned for doing the right thing for my sanity and to be able to get me back out in the field because as a health insurance agent, I'm meeting strangers every day. I didn't leave my house for three months. I needed that therapy to be able to work and make my commission. I'm a straight commission get out there and do my job.
COOPER: And just for accuracy's sake, you're healthy now and you do have coverage because you were -- because you got married?
TURNER: Exactly. I was able to get under a group plan that had guaranteed issue, had open enrollment period. That's exactly right.
COOPER: Christina, I appreciate you coming on to tell your story. Thank you.
TURNER: Thank you so much for your time, Anderson.
KING: And can you watch an extended version of Anderson's interview with Christina Turner at the newly redesigned cnn.com. You'll hear Christina talk about feeling condemned for doing the right thing to take care of her health.
KING: "Digging Deeper" now with 360 MD Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also Marcia Greenberger, the founder of the National Woman's Law Center and our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
Marcia, what about Christina Turner's story we just told there? Is that unusual? Is she unique or is that sadly common practice?
MARCIA GREENBERGER, FOUNDER NATIONAL WOMAN'S LAW CENTER: I wish she were unusual. What's probably the most unusual about her is that she really knew the insurance industry and she took whatever steps she could to protect herself.
We found that there are a number of states still that do not prohibit insurance companies from treating domestic violence as a pre- existing condition. And even those that do will take the actual treatment that a domestic violence or a rape victim in the case of Ms. Turner, the essential treatment as evidence of a pre-existing condition and then they're out of luck for getting insurance.
KING: Sanjay, help us understand this. Someone who practices medicine, how much do women stand to lose? Or maybe the better question is what do they need to gain in the proposed reforms?
GUPTA: They stand to lose a lot without some of this reform, certainly because, first of all, women are the primary health care drivers of families. I know that as a doctor. It's often the women that sort of drive the health care overall for the entire family.
Sort of bouncing off what Marcia said as well when you talk about pre-existing conditions, domestic balance in this case but also C- sections, John, can be considered a pre-existing condition. Pregnancy could be considered a pre-existing condition in many states as well.
So this whole idea of not discriminating based on that is a big deal. Also, women just pay more for health care insurance. And there's been a lot of studies that look at this now. Gender rating, you know, you have woman who are 25 years old, for example, probably pays up to 50 percent more than a 25-year-old man, for example. And obstetric care isn't always part of the core insurance.
So women don't read those insurance policies carefully, they may think, look, my pregnancy is going to be covered but then get a surprise when they actually get pregnant, John.
KING: We're back with our panel after the break; talking health benefits and the gender gap.
Also tonight, lost and found: a young woman's amnesia and the efforts to bring her memory back.
And then on a much lighter note -- much lighter note -- Levi Johnston baring it all, and I mean all for "Playgirl." If you care -- I'm not sure I do -- we have new details on his nude pictorial.
KING: We're talking about women and the health care system and specifically the case of Christina Turner who was slipped a date-rape drug then worried she might have been dropped went on a brief course of anti-HIV drugs. That seemingly sensible choice made her nearly uninsurable when it comes to health coverage.
But that's not the only way women lose out.
Back now with Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center, also Sanjay Gupta and our Candy Crowley.
Candy let's take a look at the politics of health care reform. According to a recent Gallup poll 40 percent of women favor passing significant health care reform while 44 percent of men are opposed to it. In the politics, are the concerns of women being addressed as the Democrats push their various proposals?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There certainly has been a push by this White House to put this issue out in the forefront. Michelle Obama did a video message last week in which she addressed the issue of health care reform, specifically the women's issues that the two previous people have talked about. So the White House has done a pretty good job of getting these particular issues out there.
Now what they have to face because we're a long time between now and whether these things will be corrected in the health care reform is that they're also costly. As you're watching, I think the big scramble, John, as you know, is going to be how much does it cost and where can we cut costs?
This is a lobby that has to stay fairly vocal as all the lobbies do because they're going to be looking around for places to go. You already seen one very famous YouTube exchange with Senator Kyl a Republican talking to, I believe it was Senator Stabenow of Michigan.
And Kyl objected to having all policies include maternity leaves saying, "I don't need that." And she sort of shouted back at him and said, "I bet your mother did." You are already seeing that there are -- there is going to be some pushback on this and you will see the lobbyists for females out there and you will see the Obama administration understanding the politics of that very much in the forefront.
KING: And so Sanjay help me again from a care perspective. If a private insurer can legally reject a pregnant woman on the grounds that their pregnancy is the result of a pre-existing condition. If a pregnant woman doesn't have access, prenatal care, other care, what are the health risks that get caught up in this insurance debate?
GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all you have to remember that for a lot of women, the time they get pregnant is the time they really start accessing the health care system overall. So if they're not covered, then they won't be able to access it as well.
But short of that, John, you know, a woman who's not getting adequate prenatal care, their baby is three times more likely to be born at low birth weight which can be a significant problem not only at the time of birth but also later on, costing lots of money, incidentally, to Candy's point.
Also, a woman who does not have adequate prenatal care, they themselves are much more likely to develop maternal complications. Also just diet, medications, things that often get accessed at that point when a woman becomes pregnant and starts talking with a doctor on a regular basis, a lot those things become forgone and as a result, they're not getting the same basic care.
KING: Marcia, help me understand. As your organization watches the legislation and says some of the proposals are better than others, all might make gains but some are better than others. What about the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid so say that he will bring to the floor a bill that has an opt-out? It would have a public option but if states don't want to have the public option, they can opt out?
I know you want the public option because it would go on the record saying this is covered, this is covered and this is covered which therefore would pressure the private market. Do you like Senator Reid's proposal or not?
GREENBERGER: Well, I have to say, we do support the strongest public option that is possible to get and women who earn less than men to start with. And then if they have to be in the market, especially where they need the public option, they right now as has been discussed, they've been charged so much more. Sometimes as much as 85 percent more than a man, women smokers at age 40, the National Women's Law Center study found could be charged more than male smokers. So a strong public option at a minimum... KING: Will you fight Senator Reid -- will you fight the opt-out that Senator Reid wants?
GREENBERGER: Well, we certainly think the best that we can get is the best that we want and so we want to support at least the opt- out; and if it could be stronger than that, all the better for women in this country and for families as well.
KING: Candy, one of the other criticisms on the Senate side has been of the finance committee bill -- Senator Baucus's bill. Some say it discourages employers from hiring single parents. Is that true?
CROWLEY: Well, that's certainly how the critics are looking at it. One of the things that -- that's why they're still looking at employer penalties as one of the reasons why they want this public option so there is a choice for people.
So whether it's true, so many things here, John, there are so many people that are looking at this thing. Is it going to work? It's one of those things where right now people have sort of made up their minds, by and large, at least in the public minds that they're either for it or against it.
And the next really big poll is going to be when some of this starts to kick in, has it helped. Because there are a lot of people out there saying here's going to be the unintended consequences; that's certainly one that people are warning about.
KING: Still a long way to go in this debate.
Candy Crowley, Marcia Greenberger, Dr. Gupta; thank you very much.
Tomorrow a "360 Investigation"; a tsunami strikes American Samoa. Dozens are killed, yet millions were sent from the Washington to build a warning system. So what happened?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody sent out a warning?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No warning at all. No warning at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why people died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why people die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Uncovering allegations of corruption, the "360 Investigation" tomorrow.
Next, lost without a clue: how did an 18-year-old girl end up in New York City with no recollection of who she was? And how did authorities unravel the mystery. And mid-air mystery: the pilots of the northwest plane that lost communication for over an hour are speaking out. What they say they were doing when "360" continues.
KING: Up close tonight, imagine waking up not knowing who you are. That's the reality for one young woman who surfaced in New York two weeks ago. She says she has no memory. Authorities believe her. With their help, they gave her identity back.
Erica hill joins me now. What have you learned?
HILL: I've learned that there are still a lot of questions to be honest. But we do have some answers tonight and that's the good news, John.
Her identity is no longer a mystery but plenty about 18-year-old Kacie Aleece Peterson is. Identified with the help of a CNN viewer, we now know the teen who turned up outside a New York city shelter on October 9th somehow made her way here from Washington state.
Her father reported her missing on October 2nd, two days after she was last seen. While authorities say they were able to track her bank activity, they tell me they didn't track her down because the information indicated she was alive and getting by. They couldn't ignore the fact, John, that she's an adult. She's 18 and really, she can leave of her own free will whenever she'd like.
KING: It's not the first time she was found apparently suffering from some form of amnesia, right.
HILL: It's not. And that's raising questions. And this is something that her father apparently brought up when he reported her missing. Telling the sheriff's department there had been previous issues involving amnesia-like behavior.
The most recent, the father said, was in May when Kacie was found unconscious next to a stream. When she woke up, she had no recollection of who she was or how she ended up by that stream.
And in another incident Kacie suffered what her father referred to as a mental breakdown and was found unconscious on the floor of her bedroom, John.
KING: And do we have any indication of what may have caused the episodes?
HILL: That, I think is the big question right now. We can tell you that police in New York say they don't see any indication that this was being faked. They believe that this is real. She really didn't know who she was.
Investigators in Washington haven't found any report of physical or sexual abuse. Dad did tell them he felt he put undue pressure on his children, that includes Kacie, which apparently led to some tension and the decision for her to leave home and move across the state to stay with a family friend. That happened in June.
There has been some talk about whether she may suffer from disassociative personality disorder, which as we know is multiple personality disorder. It can be caused by trauma. We were told on Saturday her father was making his way to New York to bring Kacie home. The New York City agencies handling this case though would not confirm that this afternoon. As to whether or not she's on her way home nor would they say, John, what her reaction has been, if any, to being told that they had basically figured who she was.
KING: That's fascinating. Fascinating. Still a lot of questions to be answered but at least she knows who she is and she's with her family.
A lot more happening tonight and Erica has that, too, "360 Bulletin."
HILL: Let's get you caught up now on a few other stories.
The two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot Minneapolis last week by 150 miles tell investigators it happened because they had their laptops out and they lost track of time. They say they were looking over flight crew schedule changes resulting from the merger of Northwest and Delta. Using laptops on the flight deck is a firing offense. In addition, the crew could face FAA action to yank their licenses.
A "360 Follow," jury selection under way now in Texas for the first criminal case linked to the raid on a polygamist ranch in El Dorado last year. Raymond Jessup is accused of sexual assault of a child due to his alleged marriage to an under-aged girl.
At least one in five U.S. children between the ages of 1 and 11 don't get enough Vitamin d and that puts them at risk for a variety of health problems including weak bones. Those findings are actually some new analysis of five years of government numbers. The Second Look was funded by the National Institute of Health published today in the journal, "Pediatrics". Researchers say children can get vitamin D from supplements, also eating fish and drinking milk and maybe getting outside a little bit more, they can get it from sunlight.
HILL: This is John king's favorite story of the night. Mine, too. And yes, I'm being facetious on both counts.
We are about to see more of Levi Johnston. According to reports, Levi's manager says he's 90 percent sure his client will show off full frontal nudity in his "Playgirl" debut next month. And maybe if we're lucky, John, this will be the last time we have to talk about it -- I'm hoping, my fingers are crossed.
KING: I'm 100 percent sure I don't care.
HILL: I'm right there with you.
KING: All right then.
As you know, we finish every night with "The Shot." Wait, this is for you.
HILL: It is. Would like me to tell you about it?
HILL: No? You want to know this one, trust me.
HILL: A creepy cloud formation. Because it's almost Halloween, right?
Here it is. This clip from LiveLeak.com, it was filmed over the skies of Romania. It kind of looks like a flying saucer if you look at it long enough; it certainly got the attention of the folks in the car who were videotaping it.
HILL: How about that? And not the only one that we found; we found another one on LiveLeak.com. I think this one -- there you go -- that was a little bit more clear; I think that's the one that hovered over Moscow. I don't know what it is about that region, Eastern Europe and...
KING: I thought balloon boy was too young to get a passport.
HILL: There is nothing that balloon boy can't do, John.
KING: Apparently not.
That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.