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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tough Fight Ahead For Health Care Bill; Trump Praises Australian Health Care System; Sen. Sanders: Health Care Bill Is A "Disaster"; McCain: "I Am Sure That The Russians Tried To Interfere"; FBI, NSA Directors Testify In Closes House Intel Meeting; Rice Declines Senate Request To Testify. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 4, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:44] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, a couple first for President Trump. He is back in New York tonight for the first time since he took office and he had his first legislative victory today after the House passed a bill to replace Obamacare.
Now, to see him and House Republicans today, you would think that was the end of the story, that Obamacare is out and Trumpcare is in. That is certainly not the case, not by a long shot. This is just the first step. Jim Acosta has more.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: This is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a critical first step in delivering on a campaign vow to repeal and replace Obamacare. And the president was making even more promises that Trumpcare is going to deliver for consumers.
TRUMP: As far as I'm concerned, your premiums, they're going to start to come down. We're going to get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Appearing with House Republicans to savor the moment, the president and GOP leaders were all but reading Obamacare its last rites.
TRUMP: I predicted it a long time ago. I said it's failing and now it's obvious that it's failing. It's dead. We're going to finish it off and we're going to go on to a lot of other things.
ACOSTA (voice-over): And victory speech after victory speech, the GOP was laying out its strategy to see Trumpcare over its biggest hurdle yet, the Senate, where moderate Republicans and Democrats are likely to seek a far less conservative version of the bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to make the case that Obamacare isn't worth saving anymore.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: The truth is, this law has failed and it is collapsing. Premiums are skyrocketing and choices are disappearing and it is only getting worse, spiraling out of control.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Other top Republicans were offering a pre-battle of the major criticisms facing Trumpcare, its weakening protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions. Those Americans, GOP leaders insist, will be protected.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: How do you care for pre-existing conditions when there's no care at all?
REP. STEVE SCALISE, (R) MAJORITY WHIP: Multiple, multiple layers in our bill that we passed today that not only protect people with pre- existing conditions, but actually focus real targeted money on lowering premiums.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But privately, Republican sources concede they're now in a vulnerable position.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes are 217, the nays are 213. The bill has passed. And without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Passing a bill many lawmakers have not read and before it was analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office, which said a previous Republican health care bill would leave millions without insurance. After Obamacare was passed in 2009, then Congressman Ryan blasted Democrats for rushing their bill through Congress.
RYAN: Well, yes, I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read that we don't know what they cost.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Which is why Democrats appear joyous, singing "Good-bye" to House Republicans after they passed Trumpcare. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was sharpening her knives for the upcoming midterm elections next year.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) MINORITY LEADER: Well, let me just say that they have this vote tattooed on them. This is a scar that they will carry. So it isn't -- it's their vote.
COOPER: Jim Acosta joins us now from Trump Tower in New York. So, Jim, is the White House saying anything about the Congressional Budget Office score that's coming, because that could potentially be bad news.
ACOSTA: That's right, Anderson. And don't forget, the last Congressional Budget Office score showed 24 million Americans losing health insurance under a previous incarnation of this health care bill. It's unclear what the next CBO score will say, that's expected in the next week or so. What we did hear, the White House sort of previewing its argument against the CBO score that's coming. Sarah Huckabee Sanders who is a White House spokesman was telling reporters earlier today that it's impossible to score this current bill because they don't know how many governors are going to be seeking these waivers from that requirement in Obamacare that people with pre-existing conditions be covered. And so because of that, it's impossible to score just how many people will lose health insurance and what the ramifications of this bill will be.
But tonight, we heard the president here in New York City sitting down with the prime minister from Australia saying to reporters that, you know what, this bill is going to change a little bit tin the Senate and perhaps even get better. That is obviously something we'll be waiting for in the coming weeks, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks.
Phil Mattingly is at Capitol Hill. He joins us now. So how do House Republicans feel about a lack of score from the CBO? It seemed like it wasn't a big deal for them.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. It wasn't at all. And I think, look, there's a recognition behind the scene that this is a political attack ad just waiting to happen. Democrats waiting to seize on this moment. But it's interesting.
I spent a lot of the day with allot of my colleagues asking member after member of the House Republican conference, "Are you concerned about the idea that you'd be willing to move forward on a bill where you don't know how many people it would cover and you don't know how much it would cost?" This is what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:05:11] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): How do you explain to constituents the fact that Republicans will have voted on this bill without a full CBO score? I mean, we only have a score on the original bill.
REP. DAVE BRAT, (R) VIRGINIA: Yeah. The three amendments that are new aren't going to change dramatically that CBO score, right? So the basic CBO score is going to still be in the ballpark and then everything else we've said either expands coverage, takes care of pre- existing conditions or lowers premiums, so every amendment added is a good move on policy grounds.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How do you know this is going to be right given that there is no CBO analysis to exactly say how many people will lose coverage and the impact this would have on the economy?
REP. BRIAN MAST, (R) FLORIDA: I know we're doing the right thing.
RAJU: But how?
MAST: I know. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: A little bit of blind faith there, Anderson. But, look, you heard from Jim, there's a Republican argument out there that the CBO doesn't necessarily score conservative proposals accurately, that the models don't reflect what they will actually do. So there's no shortage of war of words between the CBO and House Republicans.
And they say, look, the initial proposal was scored. There weren't enough changes to majorly reconstruct how this would all come out. But there's no question about it. The fact that they are willing to move forward on this proposal without that score really underscored one thing. They had the votes. They knew they needed to vote. They didn't want this all to hang out there, and so they're willing to pull the trigger, Anderson.
COOPER: So, I mean, practically speaking, can you just talk about what we know is actually in this bill?
MATTINGLY: Yeah. Look, I think this is a really important point, because we've all been talking about the politics. We've been talking a lot about the procedure even, but this bill is a transformative shift of the U.S. health care system. That's one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
And while there were points throughout this process where things seemed like they were cobbled together maybe and not the best or maybe most transparent fashion you've ever seen, there are still extremely dramatic changes here. I want to walk through some of them that are in this bill starting with the subsidies.
How they would actually help people finance their health care. And this would be a shift. They would change over to refundable tax credits. These credits would be structured by age. They would also phase out by income. You would also have a cap on Medicaid funding by enrollee.
Anderson, this is a dramatic shift in how Medicaid would work. This is something conservatives have been working for, for decades now. If this bill were to pass in this form, this would be a big win as well.
You also have more generous health savings accounts, another big conservative principal that they've been trying to get up to this point. But because of the dramatic changes, that also means that there's dramatic changes to what Obamacare used to be and a look at some of those that would also be very important.
The subsidies themselves, they would change. They're not as generous as they would be structured in the Affordable Care Act. There would also be an end to that extra Medicaid expansion money that has been so crucial to the funding or the insurance of more than 11 million Americans through Obamacare.
You would also have an end to the limits of insurers charging older enrollees just three times more than younger enrollees. This is an age band issue, which is also a big deal and I think the crux of all of this, this what we've seen over the course of the last week that has really kind of changed the dynamic of the debate, the willingness to allow states to opt out of price protections for those with pre- existing conditions.
Again, this was a late change for the bill. This was a controversial change to the bill. As one Republicans say, Democrats are blowing out of proportion but their willingness to touch the pre-existing conditions issue at all, even though the bill maintains that you can't deny coverage, they can change the prices if those states opt out. This is an issue that isn't going away and it is a major, major policy shift, Anderson.
COOPER: So basically, people with pre-existing conditions in those states that have opted out or gotten a waiver would pay more.
MATTINGLY: Not necessarily. So it's -- they try and institute protections here, right? If you have a plan with pre-existing conditions, that plan would be grandfathered over. But if you drop off your insurance -- and it's important to note, those with pre- existing conditions turn off insurance regularly. Or if you move states, then you would also have to drop off your insurance. Then an insurance company would be able to essentially price you at whatever they think it would be and that would mean dramatic price increases.
Now, Republicans have tried to assuage some of those concerns. This is the latest change to the bill, the one that got them over the finish line, earmarking $8 billion to go to try and address those price increases themselves, but the willingness to really even touch this issue, Anderson, is a very, very big deal and that's why you've seen Democrats seize on it over the last couple days.
COOPER: Yeah. Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.
As Jim Acosta mentioned at the start of the broadcast, many lawmakers have not even read the bill, that includes Congressman Tom Garrett, Republican from Virginia. He's staff did. They were -- he was briefed on it. I spoke to him earlier today.
COOPER: Congressman Garrett, obviously a very big win for House Republicans and for the White House. You said yesterday, "I don't think any individual has read the whole bill that's why we have staff." Did you have a chance to read the bill before you voted for it?
REP. TOM GARRETT, (R) VIRGINIA: So we -- our staff read the entire bill. I think with the amendments we're looking at about 160 ballpark pages.
[21:10:06] I would be dishonest if I said I individually read it all, that's why we have a legislative staff, but we discussed it in the great depth. The goal that we had was to create a paradigm in which we would see premiums and deductibles go down.
And that's because as we discussed before, you can talk about people with coverage, but if they can't pay their deductible and statistics show most Americans can't, then they don't have care. And so the paradigm is about affordable care, not coverage. I think this is going to move us in that direction.
COOPER: Your Republican colleague in the Senate, Lindsey Graham tweeted out, "A bill finalized yesterday has not been scored, amendments not allowed and three hours final debate should be viewed with caution." How do you respond to that?
GARRETT: Well, let me say this first. I don't follow Lindsey Graham on Twitter.
COOPER: That doesn't surprise me.
GARRETT: OK. With all due respect to Senator Graham, we had plenty of time to review this bill because the component parts, while they filtered out over time, were all there.
And, again, our end goal was to vote for a product that would reduce premiums, reduce deductibles. The Affordable Care Act paradigm has been a false, so the last CBO scoring was a false one when they said 24 million Americans lose coverage.
Again, we saw news stories a month ago that said two-thirds of Americans can't find a thousand dollars in the financial crisis, but the average deductible for a family of four is $4,000, $6,000, $10,000. We're talking about care, not coverage, that's the paradigm. We need to drive costs down. I believe this will do that. So, we feel good about where we are.
COOPER: So is that one of the reasons you would have say that there was no need to wait for a new CBO score on this bill before bringing it to a vote?
GARRETT: Well, look, ultimately I've been in Congress for a few months. They don't consult with me before they bring bills to the floor. I feel like I was very familiar with the product and comfortable with what we voted for. Why it came to the floor when it (inaudible) decision? The question was supposed to the leadership. But I'm happy we're able to do this. It's been a long time coming.
I feel a little bit vindicated having been opposed to the original ACA. What we're told was this or nothing, it's now or never and we knew that wasn't the case. And so I'm happy that we work for it. I think this is a better a product.
If you want proof that the ACA was broken beyond Iowa losing all their providers, look at the -- follow the money and look at Aetna and Anthem who had in the years following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act 165 percent and 85 percent gains in stock. They back $30 billion in dividends over two years.
Americans were getting gouged. The insurance companies were thriving. That was the dark deal made by the Obama administration with the ACA. We need to push the savings to people and not worry about the insurance companies. We need a more affordable end product. That's where I think we're going to get.
COOPER: Obviously for a lot of people in the Senate and a lot of people around the country, the question of pre-existing conditions is first and foremost. That was a big sticking point as far as we know and that this House version as well. Where do you stand on that, because it seems like this $8 billion that's been set aside, is that enough? Is that a real figure?
GARRETT: Yeah. So the $8 billion isn't enough. It's not a real figure, but that $8 billion joins $130 billion that was already there. Let me give a hat tip to (inaudible) that Gary Palmer from Alabama who looked at the system and understood that the vast bulk of costs are driven by a fraction of the population.
We have a duty to ensure that even folks with pre-existing conditions can get care. But if you create high-risk pools and then finance those high-risk pools and let the majority of the market function independently it doesn't take, you know, an economic genius to understand that the bulk of Americans will have reduced premiums.
Then, where you have high premiums for folks with pre-existing conditions, like I say for example my mom, that there might be subsidies to ensure that they, too, have access to care. But when you put everybody in the same pool, it's sort of like the equal distribution of misery versus the unequal distribution of happiness.
COOPER: Congressman Garrett, appreciate your time. Thank you.
GARRETT: My pleasure and thank you for the opportunity. Have a wonderful weekend.
COOPER: Well, just ahead, President Trump said something tonight, a short time ago, about Australia's health care system that's causing some surprise and consternation. We'll play you that sound and talk about it next.
Also ahead, the latest in the Russian White House watch, the FBI director behind closed doors today with members of the House Intelligence Committee. What we know, coming up.
[21:17:45] COOPER: So President Trump is meeting with the Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York tonight. Something he said comparing the American and Australian health care system is raising eyebrows. Listen to what the president just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Premiums are going to come down very substantially. The deductibles are going to come down. It's going to be fantastic health care. Right now Obamacare is failing. We have a failing health care. I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do, but we're going to have great health care very soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN MARTIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: The headline there could be that he is pivoting the single-payer, Anderson, you know --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The nationalized health care.
MARTIN: Well, last year -- don't forget in the campaign as you guys know, he came up and was talking about the Scottish health care system which, of course, is the, you know, NHS in the U.K. and, of course, that's also single-payer health care plan. So he's been all over the map on --
BORGER: And he is --
MARTIN: -- the actual substance of health care. He wants to sign a bill to get a legislative victory to help himself politically. It's not more complicated than that.
COOPER: So just in case you missed -- the president said that he thinks Australia has better health care which, obviously, interesting, because Australia happens to have nationalized health care.
Back with the panel. Also, we just talked to Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Sanders' comments about what the president said. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIA SANDERS, (D) VERMONT: Well, Mr. President, you're right. In Australia and every other major country on earth, they guarantee health care to all people. They don't throw 24 million people off of health insurance. So maybe when we get to the Senate we should start off with looking at the Australian health care system or the Canadian health care system, which guarantees health care to all people at a much lower cost per capita than we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So Jeffrey Lord has one of Donald Trump's books on his desk.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Never give up. Never.
BASH: But another one of his books that he wrote in 2000 --
COOPER: And by the term "wrote." LORD: Very loosely.
COOPER: He use that term loosely.
BASH: His name adorns the cover --
BASH: -- is -- and he was thinking about running as an independent for president in 2000, explicitly calls for single-payer health care system.
Now, having said that, he hasn't felt that in, you know, two years since he's been at least, certainly hasn't advocated that in two years. But I think that what we just saw goes to show Donald Trump -- vintage Donald Trump which is don't sweat the details and compliment the person you're with at any cost.
[21:20:06] COOPER: Well, that's -- yes. And that is a tic of his.
BORGER: He always likes to praise the person --
LORD: It's being gracious.
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But I'd say that, you know, when he says we have a failing health care system in one breath and the next breath is "yours is better than ours," I don't think that that's the big felony. I think this is him as you're saying, Dana, just -- he compliments people. I mean, he as a salesman.
BORGER: Do you know of any conservative, and maybe I'll ask Jeffrey this, do you know of any conservative Republican politician who would have turned to somebody and said you have a better health care system who has national health care?
LORD: I know lots of gracious conservative Republicans.
BORGER: No. I'm just -- well, but --
KINGSTON: Let's think about George Bush coming down the airplane saying to Brown on -- after Katrina, "Hey, you're doing a good job, Brownie." Remember the --
BORGER: Yeah, but Brownie worked for him.
KINGSTON: But, I mean, it was a very polite throw away line.
BORGER: No. Not a word for him.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN ANALYST: It happens all the time where the bar is fundamentally lowered for Donald Trump. Donald Trump does not understand the fundamental tenets of health insurance. He doesn't understand this debate is going on around him.
I mean, today he had a ceremony in the Rose Garden and it's almost as if we have to go to back to conjunction junction, what's your function, how a bill becomes a law because it's not -- nowhere near the finish line.
LORD: Bakari, with all due respect, if Barack Obama understood as much as you were implicitly trying to say here we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
SELLERS: You have 20 million more people who have health insurance because of Barack Obama.
KINGSTON: -- expansion of Medicaid. That was -- there was nothing remarkable. But I want to point this out.
SELLERS: You just took it away in this bill, though.
KINGSTON: Remember, Bill Clinton -- if you're talking about silly Rose Garden ceremonies, Bill Clinton after he was impeached that day brought the House Democrats down to the Rose Garden for a rally. That was bizarre. This was just a good salesmanship.
COOPER: I mean, but --
KINGSTON: It was a pep talk.
COOPER: In fairness to Donald Trump, I mean he did get very personally involved in this process, whether he understands the details or not, he clearly invested himself in trying to convince people (ph).
LORD: I had a conversation with somebody today, e-mail conversation, that said he was working the phones considerably. And this person was on the phone with him on occasion. That he was working, working, working behind the scenes to get this done.
KINGSTON: He was.
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think the important question here is why was he working the phones? He needed a political win.
LORD: Oh, yes.
PSAKI: Paul Ryan needed a political win. Let me finish. And that's exactly what he wanted out of it. You could see sort of the relief.
COOPER: I mean every politician -- I mean, that's why --
COOPER: That's what they want. PSAKI: I'm saying he wasn't arguing the substance of it. He wasn't arguing why this is better. He never has, neither have the Republicans. None of them hardly -- any of them have read the bill so he had a political win for a second there, but the problem is this has real repercussions.
SELLERS: And one of the things that we learned today that will play out in the future is that Mark Meadows and Mark Sanford and the Freedom Caucus were actually correct. And this is going to impact how he governs and legislates down the line, because what we saw today was if you get the Freedom Caucus on board, then the moderate Republicans will fold and that's what we saw today. Moderate Republicans just folded into the process. And that's going to --
PSAKI: Ironically because the politics for them is much, much worse than the Freedom Caucus.
SELLERS: Correct. And you had legislators today and -- as embarrassing as it is, you can quote Paul Ryan who don't have a CBO score, who didn't read a bill and voted for a piece of legislation.
BORGER: Which you're not going to see --
COOPER: I mean, Jonathan, according to CNN's reporting, just this morning Speaker Ryan was urging his member that now is the moment they have to close the deal. This is what they've campaigned on.
MARTIN: Yeah, because they're -- next week going on recess and then you're getting closer to June. Taxes are on the horizon. A lot of these folks would have to focus on cutting taxes, doing the work on health care bill to be totally candid with you. That's sort in their DNA, cutting taxes. And so, yes, the time was of the essence here.
I think the mentality was every day that we're closer to calendar year 2018 it becomes harder to deal with health care and we have to get it done. Now, get something over to the Senate.
I'll be totally candid with you. A lot of members of Congress on the Republican side, they just want to declare victory. They want to be able to go home and tell their base we repeal and replaced Obamacare. Are they going to exactly do just that? Perhaps not, but they want to be able to sell that back home.
And this is why, midterms are so much about the enthusiasm of your own base of voters, not swing voters, it's about your base. And if they had not addressed Obamacare after seven years of vowing to repeal it, they would have had a heck of a hard time next year getting their base out.
COOPER: Kirsten, are Democrats right to be excited about the midterms where they feel that this is going to hurt Republicans and that they're going to run on this?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I think that's a little premature, actually. I don't know. You know, it seems like -- that probably for some moderate Republicans this could be problematic, but at the same time we don't really know what's going to happen, especially because if this is going to go to the Senate --
COOPER: Yeah. We have no doubt with that.
POWERS: -- toil in the Senate and we don't know what's going to happen there. So, yeah, I think that that -- I think that would be a little more, you know -- I would hold back a little bit on that. Hold back on that a little bit.
[21:25:04] BORGER: But you know, in 2010 Barack Obama lost 63 seats in the House and half dozen seats in the Senate, so --
LORD: After he got Obamacare.
BORGER: Well, that's what I mean. So the point is this could be a problem for Republicans.
KINGSTON: We, Republicans, we do like taxes. We like economic issues. This frees us up now because there's $840 billion in tax relief in here that now we can start talking about something that we're really passionate about, that's number one.
Number two, what I thought was interesting about Bernie Sanders tonight. He said he wanted to work on a bill. Well, that's the first time I've heard a Democrat say we want to offer an alternative. I'd love to see Democrat alternative to it. We haven't seen it.
SELLERS: Barack Obama came out and said, "If you want to work to make Obamacare better, I will work with you." This is not a new concept.
KINGSTON: Well, its --
BORGER: What Republican is going to work with Bernie Sanders?
KINGSTON: Well, sounds like Lindsey Graham might, who knows? But the point is, is that it's off the House's agenda now. The Senate will have pressure. They can't just say we're going to ignore it. You know, personally speaking I like to see senators have to work.
SELLERS: That's the problem. Today was a disappointing day for the United States of America on both sides. You had a Republican Congress and leadership who failed to fundamentally do their job. I don't care how you voted on the bill, but at least understand what's in it if it's going to affect one-seventh of our economy and millions of millions of people.
And then you had Democrats who acted as if this was their first rodeo at the end of it who looked childish and who look -- I mean, I was disappointed in many of my mentors, in many of my colleagues for singing on the floor when you have women who are now going to have breast cancer and won't be able to get insurance. So everybody today sucked and I think that's the fundamental problem.
COOPER: We're using that political jargon. We're going to take a break. Thanks to everybody.
House Republicans passed the bill without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to calculate its cost. People will lose coverage under, we'll drill down on the unknowns and who stands to win and lose the most.
[21:30:58] COOPER: Tonight, the GOP health care bill has cleared its first hurdle in Congress, the next step, obviously, a tough sell in the Senate. House lawmakers passed the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to score the bill, which means no one really knows what it's going to cost or how many people will lose their health coverage under this version the House approved. Back in March, the CBO said the original bill that was introduced would leave 24 million more people uninsured by 2026.
Joining me now is former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. He's the author of "Saving Capitalism: For The Many, Not The Few". Also with us, CNN Senior Economic Analyst Stephen Moore, who is senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign.
Secretary Reich, this bill who wins, who loses?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, the winners are clearly people who are healthier and wealthier. The losers are people who are sicker and poorer. Now, we don't know exactly how much the winners are going to win and how much the losers are going to lose because as you said, Anderson, the Congressional Budget Office hasn't scored it yet.
But undoubtedly, there is going to be a lot of money on the table and that money is going to go -- if Donald Trump and the Republicans have their way to a tax cut mostly for individuals who are very wealthy and for big corporations. To me this is, and I use these charm advisedly, these words advisedly, this is morally repugnant.
COOPER: Steven, are those the winners and losers?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, I think you make the case that Obamacare has been morally repugnant. I mean, Bob, you know, there are millions and millions of Americans across the country who are facing incredible financial stress because of Obamacare.
They -- you know, I live in Virginia. We just lost, Anderson, another insurance company there. So, we're one of these areas where there's almost no competition left because so many insurance companies have dropped out of the market. That's putting real stress on American families. You know, I believe with greater competition you could have cover everybody in this country, Anderson, and this is what the Republican bill aims to do and do it at much lower cost so it's affordable to people.
You know, one of the reasons -- Bob Reich and I agree on one thing, that the last 15 years or so the average middle class worker has not had a pay raise. And you know one of the reasons that's happened, Bob, is because health care costs are so expensive that any raise that workers would get is going to pay for higher and higher health insurance costs that their employers have to pay.
So, we have to bring this cost. I mean, I don't believe, Anderson, that Obamacare on the current path that is on is sustainable. You're going to have tens of millions of people lose their health insurance under the current system because the costs are so high.
REICH: Steve Moore, you said a moment ago that actually a lot of people are suffering a hardship under Obamacare, under the Affordable Care Act. I don't know what you're talking about.
I mean 20 million people or 24 million if you believe the Congressional Budget Office would have lost their health insurance because of that former Republican plan. We don't know how many billions are going to lose their health insurance now.
Those subsidies by the way kept up with increases in premiums. Health insurance costs are going up all over the country even for people who are not in Obamacare. That is a problem, but it's a problem that is a generic problem right now.
We've got to get control over those health insurance costs, but how can you possible say that Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, actually was cruel or a burden to people? That is absurd.
MOORE: Well, let me answer the question, because every promise that Barack Obama made about Obamacare turned out to be a lie. It is not true that, you know, in many cases you can keep your own hospital and provider and insurance companies. It is not true that the average family saved $2,500 a year. Most families are paying $2,500 more a year. And if you have $40,000 or $50,000 -- your family an income and you have to pay thousands of dollars more for your insurance, that's a big hardship.
COOPER: Steve, let me ask you. Is it right -- Steve, is it right that the Republicans voted for this in any case that it seems like without actually reading them. I mean, two Congress people we talk to said that their staffs have read it and obviously not waiting for the CBO to score this.
MOORE: Well, look, would I rather have, you know, 72 hours, 96 hours to read every page of the bill? Yeah, but let's face it, Anderson. I mean, it was Nancy Pelosi who said, you know, we'll read the bill after we pass it when Obamacare came to play. (CROSSTALK)
MOORE: Democrats are being little hypocritical here when they say, "Well, you didn't read the bill." Well, none of them read the bill that transformed one seventh of our economy.
[21:35:09] But I think the big debate here is a conflict of visions about, you know, I was just listening to your debate earlier, Anderson, about whether we should run -- move towards government-run system. It's something that Robert Reich is very much in favor of. And I think the Americans -- let's have that debate. Do we really want a socialized health care system in America where you get this --
REICH: What we're talking about now is a system that was doing pretty well. I agree with you, Steve Moore, that there were things that --
MOORE: Of course not.
REICH: Wait a minute. I agree that there were flaws with it. It was doing well. The premiums were keeping up with increased costs. In fact, we know there were a lot of changes that Obama and a lot of people who are working on Obamacare wanted to make, the Republicans wouldn't make. And over the last six months there was lot of uncertainty in the market and that's why some big insurers were pulling out. But it could have been fixed and still can be fixed and I hope the Senate --
REICH: Wait a minute. I hope the Senate will actually exercise some sense and get rid of this kind of --
COOPER: Well, that is certainly where the battle has now moved. Guys, I got to jump in.
COOPER: We'll let you continue this during the break. Secretary Reich, Stephen Moore, thank you.
Just ahead, I'm going to talk to Senator John McCain about the Obamacare replacement. Does he think the House should have waited for the CBO to score it?
[21:40:21] COOPER: As we said, the GOP health care bill that the House passed today now goes to the Senate where it faces an even steeper hurdle and more scrutiny. As (inaudible) repeating today, this bill passed without an actual cost estimate, in fact, in direct contract -- contrast, I should say, to what Paul Ryan himself was calling for back in 2009 when it was the Democrats. Listen to what he said about Obamacare back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RYAN: I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read, that we don't know what they cost. We shouldn't rush this thing through just to rush it over some artificial deadline. Let's get this thing done right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, repealing and replacing Obamacare was, of course, a key campaign promise President Trump made. He also vowed to pursue an American first foreign policy. This week, we saw new signals about what that might actually look like. I spoke earlier with Senator John McCain about all this starting with the health care bill.
COOPER: You've warned Congress to take it slow on repealing and replacing Obamacare. What do you think of the vote that just took place?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I'm glad that they got it done and we are bicameral and I believe that the Senate should take it up, but we obviously have our responsibilities. There's a lot of questions including a state like mine, which is a Medicaid expansion state, but I'm glad we're moving forward.
COOPER: What are the big questions to you? What do you hope that the Senate version does?
MCCAIN: Extent of coverage obviously is big. Pre-existing conditions is a compelling issue.
COOPER: Does it concern you that the CBO hasn't had time to --
MCCAIN: Yes. We should have had a CBO estimate. I don't always agree with CBO. In fact, quite frequently, I disagree. But we should still have an assessment from them and that's got to be part of the debate.
COOPER: Your friend, Senator Graham, tweeted out saying, "A bill finalized yesterday has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and three hours final debate should be viewed with caution."
MCCAIN: He's absolutely right. And I don't try to tell the House of Representatives how they should conduct themselves, but I know that's not going to be acceptable here in the Senate.
COOPER: Let's talk about foreign policy. Just yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a statement. He spoke to State Department employees and there's obviously a lot of concern over the State Department. He didn't get a lot of pickup, but he said something I thought it was really interesting.
He said, "U.S. foreign policy should sometimes separate values, things like freedom, human dignity and the way people are treated." That's a quote from him, from policies it pursues around the world. Basically it was sort of the first definition of what an American first Trump foreign policy really is. Is that the America you want?
MCCAIN: As you know, like so many others was a proud foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. And I think historians have all agreed that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot. That was Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England's comment.
And what was the basis of Ronald Reagan's approach to the then soviet Union? It was adherence to human rights and values and freedom and matching what we had in our country with what took place in the Soviet Union.
COOPER: Angela Merkel in a meeting just with Vladimir Putin the other day brought up the treatment of gay people in Chechnya and also Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. That's something that sort of putting human rights in the conversation is something America should do.
MCCAIN: If we don't stand for human rights as a fundamental principle, that doesn't mean that it's the only principle, but it is a fundamental principle, then we're no different than any other country.
COOPER: Do you think President Trump has that opinion?
MCCAIN: I hope so. I know that he was deeply moved by the chemical weapons use and the pictures of the dead children that -- as a result of Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons and I believe that was the motivation for the cruise missile strike.
COOPER: He has said that it would be an honor to sit down with Kim Jong-un. He invited --
MCCAIN: I know.
COOPER: -- President of the Philippines, Duterte to the White House.
MCCAIN: I do not understand the comment about the North Korean crazy dictator who is capable of cruelty that we can only imagine. And --
COOPER: It shouldn't be an honor to sit down with him?
MCCAIN: No, no. It should not be an honor. In fact, I wouldn't sit down with either one of them unless there was a tangible result that would come from it. And, that -- what we were just talking about would be part of the conversation. The President of the Philippines is now practicing and legitimizing extra judicial killings.
[21:45:04] COOPER: He's encouraging his police and other vigilantes to kill --
MCCAIN: And I understand he even bragged about when he was a mayor of doing it himself. You cannot countenance that. If you countenance that kind of behavior, then you countenance it in other countries as well. So, there has to be a price for him to pay in order for us to have a normal relationship.
COOPER: Do you think that the power entrance in this White House from the outside is sort of hard sometimes to figure out obviously kind of know who has the president's ear, but I know you have great faith in General McMaster --
COOPER: -- Mattis as well. And it seems like in a number of times they have sort of been used to assure our allies. You know, well, the president may have said this, but our policy is remaining something different.
MCCAIN: The fed is the best example of that. The president said South Koreans would pay for it and General McMaster said not to worry. I think one of the things that we've got to get accustomed to with this president is that rather than watching what he says, although that's obviously important when the President of the United States speak, but more on what he does.
And I think sometimes and I'm not trying to psychoanalyze or any, but I think sometimes he says things and then he gets his advisers around him who give him advice and he listens to them. I know that he listens to Mattis and crystal (ph) -- I mean, McMaster.
COOPER: In terms of the investigations into this president that are ongoing, how much confidence do you have in the committees that are investigating? Do you think there should be a select committee?
MCCAIN: I do and I think that there's cooperation particularly now in the House Intelligence Committee. I think they're cooperating more. I think in the Senate there are two good men and women on both sides of the aisle and our intelligence committee. But I think that this issue transcends intelligence committees. There's all kinds of activities that took place during the period when the Russians tried to change the outcome of our election.
COOPER: You think that it's not just smoke, you think there is fire in there?
MCCAIN: I am sure that the Russians tried to interfere. Now then the question is, what are the events surrounding it? What individuals played in it? And if they did, what role did they have? There are so many aspects of what started as just an investigation about the Russian attempts to change the outcome of the election of 2016.
COOPER: And in your experience when there so many issues there's something there.
MCCAIN: There's no doubt in my mind. We already know there were things there. We already know that General Flynn didn't report some of the money that he received. We already know that Mr. Manafort had a closer relationship with the Russians and with Yanukovych, the Putin-sponsored dictator of President of the Ukraine at that time. We know more information as to the extent of this.
COOPER: Mr. McCain, thank you very much.
MCCAIN: It's always good to see you here.
COOPER: Up next, more testimony from FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill. Today, he stands behind closed doors. He wasn't the only one talking.
[21:52:24] COOPER: All the talk on Capitol Hill today was about health care. FBI Director James Comey got grilled again this time in a closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee. And he was not the only one they heard from today as they put on a more united front in their investigation of Russia's meddling into the 2016 election. Jim Sciutto has tonight's Russia-White House watch.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election trying to send a message of unity after partisan bickering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're working together very well. The whole committee is in a grateful fled up.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): They emerged from behind closed doors where they heard from NSA Chief Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey. Lawmakers say Comey has a tough road ahead as the FBI's investigation, which includes probing links between Trump advisers and Russians during the campaign continues.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's no secret Comey doesn't get invited to many parties on Capitol Hill. He's about as popular as cholera. But I respect that about him. I mean, my impression I give to Comey is that he's going to do his job and he doesn't much care who gets mad at him.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): The classified hearing comes after Comey's four-hour testimony, Wednesday, where he defended himself from accusations that his actions during the campaign helped tip the election to Donald Trump. He made it clear that Russia is still interfering in U.S politics, targeting both parties.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Is it fair to say that the Russian government is still involved in American politics?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Yes.
GRAHAM: Is it fair to say we need to stop them from doing this?
COMEY: Yes, fair to say.
GRAHAM: Do you agree with me the only way they're going to stop is for them to pay a price for interfering in our political process?
COMEY: I think that's a fair statement. SCIUTTO (voice-over): A total of four congressional committees are now investigating Russia's role in the election, members traveling from Capitol Hill to CIA headquarters in Virginia to review classified materials.
CNN was first to report on Wednesday that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice is declining an invitation from Senator Lindsay Graham to testify before a committee he chairs investigating Russia.
A source familiar with Rice's deliberations told CNN that she refused because the invitation was not bipartisan. The ranking Democrat, Sheldon Whitehouse, told CNN's Will Blitzer her testimony is not relevant to the committee's focus on Russian interference.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think that it would have diverted from the trust of the hearing for her to come there.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): President Trump, however, took aim this morning on Twitter saying, "Susan Rice, the former national security adviser to President Obama is refusing to testify before a Senate Subcommittee next week on allegations of unmasking Trump transition officials. Not good!"
[21:55:13] CNN has reported that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers who have examined the unmasking request found nothing unusual or illegal.
COOPER: So, Jim, I mean, we just saw in your piece, the House Intelligence Committee members trying to kind of present a very bipartisan united front. Are they really working in a bipartisan way and is the Senate really working in a bipartisan way?
SCIUTTO: From what we hear, no, or at least not enough. I think we saw some of that on display in the public hearing yesterday where the questions like the members were split along party lines.
Republican members focusing on leaks, that kind of thing, and Democrats focusing on possible or alleged ties between Trump advisers and Russians. We hear that today behind closed doors, no longer playing for the cameras. But, again, the questions were along partisan lines. That's in the House committee.
And some of their divisions have been very public you should know going back to Devin Nunes. But what's interesting is we're beginning to hear that not just from Democrats, but also Republicans about the Senate probe, splitting along those lines. And the Senate probe was meant to be kind of the adulated room in this.
It's not over. It's not done. They're making something of an effort here. But the signs right now don't look good for this being a truly bipartisan effort.
COOPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
[22:00:06] COOPER: And that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.