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Will Republican Health Care Reform Effort Fail Again?; Interview With Bill Maher. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired May 2, 2017 - 16:30   ET



BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": I mean, there's something like 80 countries who have had a woman leader. Pakistan has had a woman leader, but the -- but not the United States of us.

Somehow, we lag behind that. And I know a lot of people say, yes, I would vote for a woman. I just didn't want to the vote for that one.

Well, let's see next time when there's another woman put up for president. And I don't know how -- I don't know when that's going to happen. It doesn't look like any time soon.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it might be Elizabeth Warren. We don't know.

Let me ask you. Are there any of the 2020 possibilities, any Democrats that you like, that you hope get into the race?

MAHER: I still like Bernie Sanders.

And I'm constantly, since I turned 60, fighting against ageism. Jerry Brown, you know, is another one who is in the 70s, did a hell of a job turning our state of California around. And I don't know why these people can't be running for office or doing whatever they want, because age is an individual thing.

Some people are old at 45, and some people are working the fields in parts of the world at 100. So, I don't think we should eliminate somebody just for that.

But we also have other candidates. I like our lieutenant governor here, Gavin Newsom. I think he's an up-and-comer. He's probably going to be the governor in a year. And we will see after that.

And, obviously, when there's an unpopular president, as there is in the White House, people will come to the fore. I think you are going to have a very crowded field for the Democrats. I just hope they learned some of the important lessons from 2016, like have a message. At least we're not crazy didn't work. I think you need something more.


TAPPER: Yes, you said on your show that liberals need to stop trying to win over Trump voters with facts. So what should Democrats do to win over Trump voters?


MAHER: Well, I was just going to say, a bit of it should be ease up on the identity politics.

They pulled off quite a neat trick in 2016. They made white people, who are still the majority in this country, feel like a minority, or at least enough of them to swing the election. So, I think that's important.

Make sure you look like you represent everybody, including the majority. And also go where the energy is in the party. Hillary is a lovely lady, but she couldn't fill the function room at the Olive Garden.

And there was a 74-year-old man who was getting crowds of 20,000 young people to come to see him. Rallies matter. Trump proved that. It shows something about what people want.

She was not a great candidate. I think she acknowledges that herself. Having said that, what I'm going to talk about at the end of my show on Friday night is the fact that those people who said, well, she was the lesser of two evils and a pox on both of their houses, now we have 100 days of empirical evidence of what a Trump presidency looks like.

They should be ashamed of themselves. And for the future, we should note this, that you were wrong about Hillary just being the lesser of two evils. That's the first step to winning another election for the Democrats.

TAPPER: So, just to make sure I understand, do you want Bernie Sanders to run for president again?

MAHER: I do, for nothing else than to keep everybody else honest in the race, because he just says it the way it is. He doesn't pander, and everybody else is going to have to get on board about that.

TAPPER: You interviewed Senator Elizabeth Warren last week. I want to show our viewers a moment from that interview.



MAHER: Well, his fans are not with you.

WARREN: Hold on.

MAHER: Come on.

WARREN: When we talk...

MAHER: They don't like you, Pocahontas.


TAPPER: That was a tense little moment there.

What did you make of her reaction, and do you think when the president calls her that that it's an ethnic slur?

MAHER: Technically, yes. Should we get that upset about it? Of course not.

This is, again, one of the problems that Democrats have, is that they obsess about things like Halloween costumes and the name of the Washington Redskins, and there's millions of people in this country who are saying, how about a little bit more of I'm going to get your job back?

That's why they listened to a con man about that. But the point I was pressing Elizabeth Warren on there was about the fact that there was a survey come out this week that showed Obama voters, the last two -- before this election who switched to Trump, by 2-1, they think that Democrats in Congress favor the wealthy more than Trump does.

I wanted to know from her, describe to me that disconnect. She said, well, they are angry. I said, yes, we agree. Everybody is angry out there and we agree that there's a lot of justification for that anger.


My question is, how come their solution to that anger is to go for the guy who is obviously turning everything back over to the 1 percent, instead of you, Elizabeth Warren, who actually would help those people?

Whose fault is that? Now, it is part of the Democrats' fault and it's part people's fault. They just don't pay enough attention to know who is really going to be their champion. They have to own that a little bit.

TAPPER: Bill Maher, always good to see you, always good talk to you. Thanks so much for coming on the show today. Appreciate it.

MAHER: OK, Jake. Good to see you.

TAPPER: OK. Talk to you soon.

A scramble on health care, Republicans now only one no vote away from failing again. Will the White House be able to eke out a victory? We will have the latest vote count coming up.

Plus, Jimmy Kimmel taking on the health care debate after his newborn son, Billy, needed some emergency surgery to survive having been born with a preexisting condition -- Kimmel's emotional revelation coming up.



TAPPER: Welcome back.

More in our politics lead now. Republicans are keeping a revived hope of a health care bill alive, but it's only alive by a thread right now. They are trying to desperately convince holdouts in their own party that they have a plan that is worth replacing the thing they complained about and ran against for seven years, Obamacare.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is live for us on Capitol Hill.

And, Sunlen, today, Speaker Ryan said they are making progress, but where do we stand right now, according to CNN's vote count?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Republican leaders, Jake, are not in a good spot on all of this right now.

If one more House Republican comes out against this bill, that will kill its chances of going forward in its current form. So you have behind the scenes Republican leaders in the House really trying to ratchet up the intensity and urgency of this moment and making the argument to members that now is the time that they have got to make this happen.


QUESTION: Speaker, is there a health care vote this week?

SERFATY (voice-over): With their health care bill in serious jeopardy...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will try to get there, but until we have 216, we can't take the vote.

SERFATY: ... House Republican leaders have launched a full-court press to shore up support...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're getting very close.

QUESTION: How close?


SERFATY: ... in their push to hold vote on their health care bill this week.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How is health care coming, folks? How it's going? All right, we are moving along? I think it's time now, right?

SERFATY: But despite public claims of confidence...

RYAN: We're making very good progress with our members.

SERFATY: ... behind closed doors today, sources tell CNN GOP leaders admitted to members they still don't have the votes to pass the bill. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we have confidence that we have the votes,

obviously, we will obviously have the -- we will have that bill up.

SERFATY: Based on CNN's latest count, 22 House Republicans say they are opposed to the bill. That means the GOP is just one more no vote away from the proposal being short of the 216 votes it needs to pass, all Democrats expected to be against it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're working to -- for the vote. We've got a number of members that had some questions that we're getting answers to.

SERFATY: Leaders are now painstakingly going member to member trying to cobble together the votes they need and assuage concerns, part of that unease among members centering around President Trump's muddled message over preexisting condition coverage in the bill.

TRUMP: And it will be every bit as good on preexisting conditions as Obamacare.

SERFATY: A source telling CNN those remarks caused confusion over what he meant, adding, "The uncertainty isn't helpful."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are elements of it, particularly my concern about the ability to guarantee the coverage for those who are, you know, with preexisting conditions.

SERFATY: The latest version of the bill would allow states to opt out of an Obamacare provision that bars insurers from charging people more based on their medical history and set up high-risk pools for those with preexisting conditions.

Congressman Fred Upton, the former chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, giving the bill a significant blow today, saying it torpedoes key protections.

REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: From day one, I have supported the rights of those with preexisting illnesses to be covered, and, in my view, this undermines that effort.

SERFATY: Republican leaders looking to reassure their members and prevent even more loss of support for the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if that state requests and gets a waiver, continuous coverage is still the law of the land and can't be waived for people with preexisting conditions.


SERFATY: And a senior Republican leadership aide says, "We will have a vote when we have the votes."

And, of course, there's still not been a vote scheduled yet. So that's clearly where they are, without having the support necessary. And on Thursday, the full House Republican Conference will hold another meeting that morning. That is the same day they are set to leave Washington for a week-long recess -- Jake.

TAPPER: Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill for us, thank you so much.

Turning from the health care bill to our health lead, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel last night shared a heart-wrenching story about the birth of his now 11-day-old son, Billy, delivering a tearful monologue on his ABC show.

Kimmel talked about how he and his life, Molly, learned that Billy was born with a heart defect and the hellish week that the three of them went through.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": A little over a week ago, on Friday, April 21, my wife, Molly, gave birth to a boy, a baby boy. His name is William John Kimmel.


KIMMEL: Thank you very much.


KIMMEL: We call him Billy. It was an easy delivery. Six pushes, he was out.


KIMMEL: And he appeared to be a normal, healthy baby, until about three hours after he was born. We were out of the delivery room. We moved to the recovery room. Our whole family was there.

And we introduced him to his 2.5-year-old sister. She was cute with him. We were happy, everything was good. my wife was in bed relaxing and when a very attentive nurse at Cedars Sinai Hospital, her name is Nanoush, was checking him out and heard a murmur in his heart which is common with newborn babies but she also noticed he was a bit purple which is not common so she asked me to come with her and my wife and I assumed it would be nothing. Our daughter with a heart murmur, too, and we didn't notice that he wasn't the color he was supposed to be.

So I accompany Billy and the nurse and went down to the hall to another part of the hospital, the neo-natal ICU where another excellent nurse named Anne checked him out and called the doctor and then now all of a sudden it felt serious. And the room started to fill up, more doctors and nurses and equipment started to come in, and they determined he wasn't getting enough oxygen into his blood which as far as I understand or understood at the time was most likely one of two things, either his heart or the lungs. You hope it's the lungs because sometimes they have fluid in them after delivery and it's potentially a minor thing. But they did an x-ray and his lungs were fine which meant his heart wasn't.

So now more doctors and nurses and equipment come in, and it's terrifying thing. I'm a - you know, my wife is back in the recovery room. She has no idea what's going on, and I'm standing in the middle of a lot of very worried looking people, kind of like right now who are trying to figure out what the problem is. And it's Friday night, and so they call a pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Evan Zahn who when they called him was picking his mother up from the airport. Luckily her plane was not delayed because he got to the hospital very quickly. They did an echocardiogram, which is a sonogram of the heart and found that Billy was born with a heart disease, something called Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. It's hard to explain. Basically the pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart. And then, they brought my wife in and they wheeled her in and Docto Zahn told her what was going on and what our options were, and we decided to take him to Children's Hospital where there's a world renowned cardiac surgeon who is by all accounts, a genius. His name is Dr. Vaughn Starnes. So we put the baby in an ambulance to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and on Monday morning, Dr. Starnes opened his chest and fixed one of the two defects in his heart. He went in there with a scalpel and did some kind of magic that I couldn't even begin to explain. He opened the valve and the operation was a success. It was the longest three hours of my life.

We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world but until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all. You know, before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there's a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition. And if your parents didn't have medical insurance you might not live long enough to even get denied because of pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make. I think that's something that whether you're a republican or democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do. Whatever your party, whatever you believe, whoever you support, we need to make sure that the people who are supposed to represent us, the people meeting about this right now in Washington understand that very clearly. Let's stop with the nonsense. This isn't football. There are no teams. We are the team. It's the United States. Don't let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants. We need to take care of each other. And I saw a lot of families there, and no parent should ever have to - this I - if they can afford to save their child's life, it just shouldn't happen, not here.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: Seizing on the need to protect those with pre-existing conditions, President Obama tweeted the now viral video of the Kimmel monologue saying, quote, "that's exactly why we fought so hard for the Affordable Care Act and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy." Let's bring in CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, without insurance companies being required by law to cover people with pre-existing conditions, could someone like Billy Kimmel be denied insurance because of a condition like this? [16:50:00] ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Jake. Before ObamaCare, that used to happen frequently. Adults and children with pre-existing conditions, when they went to go purchase insurance were told no or sometimes were told, sure, we'll insure you but for an incredibly high amount of money that, you know, many people couldn't afford, or we'll insure you for everything except this condition which, of course, is ridiculous because that's why you need the insurance. And Jake, when you think about it from a business point of view to be totally kind of crass here, it makes sense, right? Why would an insurance company want to insure someone who is at risk because they have a disease that's very expensive to treat? It's a known the entity. It's a known expensive entity. Why would they want to insure them if they didn't have to? So in many cases they just didn't.

TAPPER: Kimmel had Shaun White on his show last night. Shaun White is the Olympic snowboarder who has the same heart condition. In general, can someone live a normal life with this condition? Elizabeth? Is she there? OK.

COHEN: Absolutely. Now they can. Now -

TAPPER: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

COHEN: Now, before the surgery that the Jimmy Kimmel - before the surgery that Jimmy Kimmel described as being so miraculous, before that surgery came about, you know, 50, 60 years or so ago or so, these children rarely made it into adulthood, but now the prognosis is usually excellent. They usually can do things like sports and live a normal life, so the prognosis for these children really is terrific.

TAPPER: Now, there is a lot of talk this week about instead of requiring insurance companies to set - to cover people with pre- existing conditions, that the states can set up high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions. Does that work?

COHEN: You know, Jake, this isn't new. Before ObamaCare, states had these high-risk pools and there were two big problems. One, there was a huge wait list for them and, number two, they often charged these really high premiums. I remember speaking to people pre-ObamaCare about the struggles that they had with these high-risk pools. Now, some of the republicans are talking now about, well, we'll put more money into it and so they'll work better, but a lot of experts think it just doesn't work suitably. The whole thing about a pool is that you're supposed to spread the risk around. That's what insurance is, right? Is that it's supposed to be people of varying risks coming together, that's why insurance works. So to have a pool, that's just people who are of high risk is inherently problematic.

TAPPER: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much. And to Jimmy and Molly, we are all so glad that Billy is OK.

Coming up, viral racist taunts and peanuts thrown at a baseball player at Fenway Park, the centerfielder says an apology, that's not enough. He just spoke with reporters minutes ago, his comments next..


[16:55:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, the "SPORTS LEAD" now. An embarrassing moment at Fenway Park. Just a few weeks ago, Major League Baseball and the nation were celebrating the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's joining the Brooklyn Dodgers and breaking baseball's color barrier but clearly some Boston Red Sox fans have not evolved much since 1947. The Sox and in fact the whole Commonwealth of Massachusetts are now apologizing to Orioles Outfielder Adam Jones for racist taunts that fans hurled at him last night at Fenway. Jones said one fan even threw peanuts at him. Here he is moments ago talking to reporters about what happened.


ADAM JONES, BALTIMORE ORIOLES OUTFIELDER: I heard the "N" word and you know, I get certain reactions when you know, someone says something clever or saying something really, really stupid and ignorant. And last night it was not clever. It was really stupid and ignorant and I thought we moved past that a long time ago but obviously with what's going on in the - you know, in the real world, things like this, people are out - people are outraged and speaking up at an alarming rate.


TAPPER: Jones said he heard around 60 fans at the game at Fenway last night were ejected from the game. The Red Sox did not confirm that number. The governor of Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker tweeted this morning, "Fenway fans behavior at the Red Sox game last night was unacceptable and shameful. This is not what Massachusetts and Boston are about." Jones says apologies are not enough, the racist fans should be fined.

And right now, a special look at the last images, scene by a U.S. service member before he was killed then our "WORLD LEAD". Newly released photos from the army capturing the bravery of the young combat photographer behind the lens. A word of caution, these powerful images might be disturbing for some viewers. 22-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Hilda Clayton was in eastern Afghanistan in July 2013. She was serving as a photographer on a mission to certify Afghan soldiers for mortar operations. According to the army, Clayton was training the Afghan combat photographer who snapped this image of a mortar tube accidentally exploding during a live-fire exercise. In the lower left-hand corner you can see a camera just feet away from the intense blast. Clayton kept snapping. She took this final picture, the kind of intensely close violent image that most Americans would never and should never see in person. Both photographers and three members of the Afghan National Army were killed in the blast. Clayton was the first U.S. Army Combat Documentation and Production Specialist to be killed in Afghanistan. She was a graduate of the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Maryland. After her death, Clayton's unit named its annual the team building competition in her memory. The five day event is meant to build self-confidence by training combat photographers outside their comfort zones. To both photographers who use their final moments to capture the scene, both of them, thank you for your bravery. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. That's it for THE LEAD today, I'm Jake Tapper, thanks for watching. I now turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I see him.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now, breaking news, Compromised, the CNN Exclusive. Sources say former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates will testify that she gave a forceful warning to the White House that Michael Flynn's Russia contacts may have left him compromised.