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Republican Health Care Bill Passes the House. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 5, 2017 - 12:00   ET


[12:00:04] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

There's some positive economic news today. Let's take a look. 211,000 new jobs added in April. The unemployment rate at its lowest point in 10 years. Just 4.4 percent.

That's good news for the country and for a president who is already in the mood to celebrate. He believes the House vote to repeal and replace Obamacare gives his agenda and his spirits a much needed jolt.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better. And this is -- make no mistake, this is a repeal and a replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it. Make no mistake.


KING: Now, though, on to a most uncertain next step. The Senate. Republicans have a tiny majority there and don't like a lot of what they see in the House bill.


SEN. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: The Senate will write its own bill. That's clear. Mitch McConnell's made that clear. And others in leadership have made that clear. So we'll be writing our own bill.


KING: And as these policy fights play out, the next campaign takes shape in an instant. Democrats lost the House, remember, after passing Obamacare. They think Republicans are returning the favor.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: You have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark on this one. You will glow in the dark.


KING: With us this Friday to share their reporting and their insights, CNN Nia-Malika Henderson, the "Atlantic's" Molly Ball, Michael Shear, the "New York Times," and Mary Katharine Ham of the "Federalist."

On day 105 the president was understandably downright giddy.


TRUMP: You know, coming from a different world and only being a politician for a short period of time, how am I doing? Am I doing OK? I'm president. Hey, I'm president. Can you believe it? Right?


KING: He is president. It's a celebration he earned. His efforts played a big part in winning House passage of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. But bow it's day 106 and the reality is this. Yes, the vote gave the president and House Republicans a very much needed win. But your fifth grade civics lessons still apply. For all the hype and high fives yesterday among Republicans yesterday does nothing to change health care in America. One chamber does not new law make.

The Senate is next and the Republican majority there, well, has little maneuvering room. 52-48 is the edge for Republicans and also lots of policy differences with their friends over in the House.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The House Freedom Caucus made the bill a lot less bad, but what I'm still concerned with is this will be the first time that Republicans have affirmatively put their stamp of approval on a program where federal money, taxpayer money, is paid to insurance companies.

I want everybody in the individual market to be protected against pre- existing conditions by getting into the group market and let market forces work. It can work, but the current bill acknowledges that it doesn't work and then we just subsidize the insurance companies which I think is deplorable.


KING: So where are we today? Again, significant achievement, especially given what happened six weeks ago when they went off the rails in the House. The House has now passed a bill and sent to the Senate. The president is happy. That's a big step in the direction. His maneuvering and negotiating helped move it along. But that's Rand Paul, on the right saying the Tea Party, libertarian people in the Senate saying wait a minute, this is still too much government. Too much government. Republicans saying let's use government to help people.

And then you have people more to the center and I'll say to the left of the Republican Party, the moderate centrist, who say wait, this bill leaves too many people at risk. What happens? NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't

think we know yet. But I think the fact that it came out of the House and it came out of the House because Republicans needed it to come out of the House. They need to make good on the repeal and replace, make it not a slogan but make it a reality. So I think that kind of tribalism, quite frankly, that was at play in the House eventually probably kicks them in in the Senate.

I mean, it's going to take a lot of wrangling. I think Mitch McConnell is good at wrangling. Look at how he was able to stall Merrick Garland forever and get Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. There are obviously meetings going on about what this bill will look like. There are meetings yesterday.

So, yes, I mean, I think there are going to be a lot of policy differences. What happens with Planned Parenthood funding, what happens with the Medicaid expansion, can it be deficit neutral because it has to be deficit neutral? But you know, I mean, my money in some ways is on Mitch McConnell, getting this done.

KING: OK. One bet on McConnell.


MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, here's three things that we know are going to happen. And some of them are outside of the senators' control and they're going to be watching them for signals. Number one, they're going home for a week.

KING: Right.

BALL: And they're going to see how much they get yelled at. They're going to see what the passion is from the grassroots. Both the activist grassroots on the right and the larger grassroots of their districts. Are people passionately upset about this? Are they supportive of them of getting something done? What is the vibe they're going to get back home?

Number two, the CBO is going to score this bill some weeks after the fact and that's going to give people at least some guidelines to what are the estimates of how this will actually affect people, people in their districts and the American public overall.

[12:05:06] Number three, the Senate's going to write a bill. The Senate has said they're not going to take up the House bill. And so it's up to the Republican senators and Mitch McConnell and his lieutenant to decide how much does the bill we write resemble the House bill, given that the House bill passing was much more about process, about putting a win on the board and much less about the substance of policy.

KING: And so I want to show -- as we continue the conversation, I just want to show because the White House is celebrating today. I want to show you a picture yesterday. Dan Scavino, the social media director, tweeted this out. It's hard to see, if you look at it, but you look closely the president of the United States surrounded by Steve Bannon, his two people over to the president's right, but Gary Cohn, the economic adviser, Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, his daughter Ivanka, Dina Powell. The establishment New York crowd is what many conservative folks will say they look.

The question, though, Mary Katharine, you know, the Republicans in the House decided we have to pass something because our base is going to collapse. So let's do the best we can and then let's see what happens in the Senate. The problem is the Senate is unlikely to send something back to the House if it passes anything. You make your bet on Mitch McConnell. Kind of send something back to the House. And we're going to have the same debate all over again with the Freedom Caucus and with the conservatives. And?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, THE FEDERALIST: That is one of the perils of doing this. It's actually very hard to do. And I think it's less of an ideological or a practical win than some on the right are saying. And it's much less dire a loss for those on the left than they are acting like it is. If you look at the provisions that are actually in this which by the way is not at all how it will look if it becomes law in the future.

KING: Right.

HAM: So I think people should take a deep breath. The good thing is as somebody who has been negatively affected by Obamacare, and there are many, many, many of us, there are also those who were helped, I do not deny that at all. But there is this situation in the individual market that is pretty dire. And you have Aetna, one of the major providers, just dropping out in Virginia this week. That will send things in the wrong direction. And if you leave it, if you do not attempt to do anything, it will not fix itself. And so I think moving at all was necessary. It was a promise that the GOP made and I think it's necessary for actually helping.

HENDERSON: You know, it helps with their messaging. Right? Obamacare is broken and we're going to fix it. The Democrats' message is something like, you know, Republicans don't care if you --

KING: But their calculation is --


KING: Their calculate is, Democrats passed Obamacare, it is broken. We Republicans are going to fix it. This is still not a -- there's no effort and let's see what -- if the Senate collapses for some reason, or if the Senate and the House can't get back together, it will be interesting, quite, to the president to see whether he decides we're going to try to do in a bipartisan way. But for now this is on a Republican only track.

MICHAEL SHEAR, NEW YORK TIMES: And look, the truth is, look at what Obama found when he was doing this. You have to live to fight another day. Right? And there were lots of places. There were lots of times along the way of the Obamacare fight where if they hadn't cleared a committee, they hadn't cleared the House, they hadn't cleared various pieces, it just would collapse. So the Republicans are right to celebrate in the sense that if they had failed here, they would have all gone home, as Molly said, and that would have been a tough thing to explain.


BALL: I just want to point out, I think there are a couple of other lessons that the Obama administration and the Democrats learned the hard way in 2009. The Republicans have not heeded here. One is that you disrupt the existing health care system at your peril. Even if you believe you are helping a lot of people net-net, that disruption to that system is something of a third rail. It's really hard politically. And number two, it's even harder if you do it on partisan lines. If you don't have any bipartisan buy-in to sell this, it becomes much more of a political hot potato.

KING: And the reaction yesterday is interesting. As you mentioned, the very important point, there's no Congressional Budget Office score. That's a tradition. For those of you at home, scores essentially, they look at the bill. How many people will this put -- more people will put on health care, how many people more it will kick off health care? How much is it going to affect the federal deficit, how is it going to cost overall spending? What impact do they think it will have? Project it will have in the different elements of the insurance program?

Which is why Senator Lindsey Graham when everyone asked the senators, OK, what do you think of the House bill? Senator Lindsey Graham said this, " Like y'all, I'm still waiting to see if it's a boy or a girl. Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours, going through debate at three or four hours, not scored, needs to be viewed with suspicion."



KING: Not sure if it's --

HENDERSON: He's a fellow South Carolinian.

KING: So the Senate is -- A, it's just the Senate, you know, for those of you who have been in town for more than a week. The Senate is the Senate. It's a very different beast than the House. So here's the president of the United States who thinks at the moment, look, his approval rating has been down. His first 100 days was not scored, you know, great or fabulous for any big legislative achievement. But the president believes this gives him a bit of a boost. And here he is in his weekly -- we call it a radio address, it's not a radio address anymore. But the president's weekly address trying to use whatever momentum he has to kick the Senate.


TRUMP: On Thursday the House voted to repeal one of the worst job- killing laws of all. It's called Obamacare. Perhaps you've heard of it. I'm calling on the Senate to take action. Repealing and replacing Obamacare will be a big, big win for the American people.


KING: Does he have the juice to get the Senate to move at least at a quick pace?

[12:10:01] If we know -- if we know the Senate is going to write something that is a grand canyon away from the House legislation, and then they're going to have to spend weeks or more trying to bring that together, and the pace of that impacts tax reform, and the pace of that impacts infrastructure, does the president have the juice in his first phone call, Ashley Parker tweeted out yesterday apparently right after the House bill passed, it was Mitch McConnell saying, here you go, pal, ball's in your court. Does he have the juice to get them to move quickly?

HAM: So it's interesting that he used some of his juice on this. I think more than he did the first time with the House. He seems to have learned that lesson and will perhaps apply it to the Senate, but the Senate is perhaps less movable.


SHEAR: But it's a different -- you know, the "Art of the Deal," Mr. Negotiation, I mean, I think we'll find out more about some of the conversations and how those -- you know, how much arm twisting there was, et cetera. But it's a very different thing to deal with some of these senators who are not maybe going to be quite so --

KING: Well, they run statewide. Most --

SHEAR: Right.

KING: Most. Not all. We're going to get to this in a minute. But most of these House Republicans think they're in safe districts and are more worried about not doing something than getting a primary.

BALL: That's right.

KING: So as we close this part of the conversation, we'll talk more about this in the hour ahead, what do we make of this? The president after leaving Washington in his celebration sat down with the prime minister of Australia. There was some talk that they had some bad blood in their early phone call. The president is making the case, no, we're putting that all behind us. But as he sits down, as he's exchanging pleasantries, listen to his take on health care with the Australian prime minister.


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 or 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)

KING: Now Trump supporters say he just likes to be flattering and nice to everybody he sits with. This is him being nice and flattering. You have great -- you have great oceans. You have great mountains. You have great health care. And you have great food. You have great everything. Democrats say ding, ding, ding, Australia has a single-payer, government-run health care system. Does the president not know --

HENDERSON: Trump had no idea.

KING: Does he not know the policy?

HENDERSON: I don't think Trump knows the details of the policy that was passed out of the House. Because he's not a detailed guy. But I also think that Trump, if he got a universal health care bill on his desk, he would sign it. And his supporters would love it. I mean, that's my sense of it.

BALL: No, even if he knew --


BALL: -- what was in this bill versus what Australia has, he might pick Australia.


BALL: He's on the record having said that.

KING: So he wants to sign a bill, whether it's A or B.

BALL: Yes. Well, this is easy, like a potentially Freudian slip, right? I mean, he's on the record supporting single-payer health care for a lot longer than he's ever been for conservative approaches to this issue. It's not like he never thought about it before.

KING: There have been days when I thought I think with all of you here, I've said it might be a little easier if we brought in Dr. Freud and Dr. Phil and whatever.

All right. We'll keep the conversation going.

Up next, walk the plank? Glow in the dark? Nancy Pelosi thinks Republicans are about to feel her pain.



[12:17:18] TRUMP: Premiums will be coming down. Yes, deductibles will be coming down.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: It's a pretty safe bet those words from President Trump yesterday will be in a lot of campaign ads next year. Democrats see history repeating itself, though they think the shoe is now on the other foot. Remember if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor? Well, that clear and ultimately false promise from President Obama became a vital Republican political weapon in the campaigns that followed. Now Democrats hope to turn President Trump's words into a 2018 game changer.

Look at the map right now. This is the House of Representatives. All that red, that's your Republican majority in the House. I want to go back in time. After President Obama came to office, there's a Democratic majority. See all that blue? That was then. This is now. That's a lot of red replacing a lot of blue. So Democrats think Republicans are vulnerable for the vote yesterday. And these are the 14 they think are most vulnerable. 14 Republican House members all re-elected or elected in 2016 in districts that Hillary Clinton won.

Now if you see Darrell Issa of California, he won by two points, Hillary Clinton won his district by eight points. Democrats think let's look at that district. Very competitively in 2018. Martha McSally, Arizona, she won by 14, Hillary Clinton by five. Less of an opportunity for Democrats maybe. But they think this health care vote will help them. So watch these 14 among the many Republicans as they get targeted to see the political impact of the vote that happened yesterday as the health care debate goes forward.

And Nancy Pelosi led the charge for the Democrats because she remembers these numbers. She was speaker heading into this midterm election. In the 2010 election the Democrat didn't just get beat. They got shellacked. They lost 63 House seats in the first midterm election after passing Obamacare. So among the most passionate during the final hours of debate yesterday, Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker, now the majority leader, she thinks there's a chance she might get that gavel back.


PELOSI: You vote for this bill, you have walked the plank from moderate to radical, and you're walking the plank for what? A bill that will not be accepted by the United States Senate. Why are you doing this? Do you believe in what is in this bill? Some of you have said well, they'll fix it in the Senate. But you have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark on this one. You will glow in the dark.


KING: Now for most people watching at home, they care about the policy in this bill. And what is going to change in their lives and is it going to be better for their health care, better for their wallet, better for their children and better for their parents, better for neighbors? But this is Washington. This show is called INSIDE POLITICS.

Is Nancy Pelosi right? Are Democrats truly that optimistic that even if nothing happen from here on out, and this whole collapses, that just by casting this vote yesterday that dozens of Republican House members have put themselves at risk?

[12:20:11] BALL: Well, I would say, first of all, we don't know. Right? I mean at this point in the 2014 cycle the shutdown hadn't even happened and Democrats were sure that that was going to be terrible for Republicans and they ended up doing pretty well in 2014.

KING: And they took the Senate.

BALL: Also I don't think we should ever take Nancy Pelosi's word for what's going to happen in the House because I recall she predicted Democrats were going to take back the House in -- in 2012, in 2014 and in 2016. So she always makes that prediction.

KING: Right.


BALL: That being said, it is interesting how few Republicans you hear making the opposite case. You don't hear any Republicans saying no, this will be good for us, this is going to enable us to challenge Democrats, Democrats will pay for being against this. Everybody on the Hill, Republican and Democrat, is assuming that this is in some way a political negative even if it's eventually going to fade.

HAM: Well, that was also the refrain of the Nancy Pelosis of the world about Obamacare. It's going to become really, really popular. Well, that day never came. And so I don't think it's wise to gloat about this too early on either side.

Glowing in the dark by the way is an alternative lifestyle that should be covered under the -- but, look, I think --

SHEAR: An essential health benefit.


HAM: Look, I think this is -- it's hard. And it is -- it could be risky for these guys.


SHEAR: Right.


HAM: Because this is down on paper. But I also think you made the promise and many of these guys feel like that was the important thing. And also the folks who were negatively affected by Obamacare are the ones who voted these guys in so they're going to be looking at this and see what happens.

KING: And did ownership at least partially if not completely change hands yesterday in that this was a Democratic issue? They passed Obamacare with only Democratic votes. And so in 2010, 2012 Obama gets reelected. The damage wasn't as bad. 2014 as you know, Democrats had high hope, the Republicans after taking the House in 2010, take the Senate in 2014, then they get the White House in 2016. Obamacare was a factor and some would say a huge factor, others would debate the margins. But in all three of those elections.

Now that the Republicans have a Republican president and they passed something through at least one chamber, do they now own health care?

HENDERSON: I don't think. I think Trumpcare is still to be determined. Right? I think, you know, the first weeks of, you know, life -- you know, came yesterday with this passage out of the House and so they are framing it like Obamacare is still terrible, it's still here and we're going to promise you something much better. I think for Democrats we still don't quite know what their messaging is. And I think for Democrats they have never been good in terms of Obamacare and health care and selling it and messaging it. They still have to figure out who the candidates are in these different districts. Is the resistance real? How do they get their base out? Right? I mean, they've never been good over these last cycles in terms of the health care.

KING: They ran from it for the most part which is a lesson for Republicans. If you voted for this, if you do like the Democrats and you run from your vote, you run like -- to your point about what is the message, I want you to listen to Bernie Sanders here because the one thing we looked at, you can find a lot of troubling poll numbers for President Trump. The one very solid thing for President Trump is his base, that's has been rock solid.

HENDERSON: Right. Yes.

KING: People who voted for Trump say give him a chance, it's not his fault, the stumbles, they blame Paul Ryan, they blame the Democrats, they still blame Hillary Clinton. They don't blame their president. But listen to Bernie Sanders trying to make the case last night that he thinks Democrats should make. That if you voted for Trump thinking he was going to help you, in Bernie Sanders' view, this health care bill is quite different.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You take this bill and you -- no, we don't want to clog up toilets or anything, but you just toss it into a garbage can and you start again. This bill is a disaster. It is an embarrassment. And I want to say to the people who voted for Trump. He said we are going to provide health care to everybody and it's going to be less expensive. Providing health care to everybody is not throwing 24 million people off of health insurance. So this, in my view, this health care bill is an embarrassment. It's an insult to the American people.


KING: Can he make -- can the Democrats make that case? Candidate Trump did say costs would go down. Under the bill as it now stands, we'll wait for the new CBO score, but they haven't changed much from the prior bill, which it said for older Americans your insurance companies could charge you more. That's just one piece of the Trump base.

SHEAR: But two things here. First of all -- that are maybe different from the Democrats in their situation, first of all, we don't really see the kind of intense activism on the Democratic side that we did in -- instantly in the Tea Party revolt. Second of all, the -- none of these things that Bernie Sanders suggests might happen are going to happen by 2018. Right? So even if it's true that four years from now or six years from now there are millions of people thrown off the rolls and health care premiums have spiked because this thing passes -- first of all, it hasn't passed yet. But even if it did, by 2018, people are still going to be feeling the after-effects of Obamacare, not Trumpcare. And that's still a problem for them.


KING: Well, that's why I asked the ownership question.


KING: Because things won't change that fast but who will they blame?

BALL: I think what Republicans proved in 2010 and every election going forward was that you can hang health care on the party that tried to change it relentlessly.

[12:25:12] And it's much easier to say anything you don't like about your health care system is their fault. And just pound that negative message over and over again. And what Democrats found out is it's really hard to explain and to sell, and to say but no, it hasn't even been implemented yet, or to say but no, you know, these things aren't our fault, they had to do with the previous system or -- none of that works because when you can tell the entire American public anything you don't like about health care is their fault, that's pretty effective.

KING: It will be interesting. The first political test on the ballot will be the Georgia special election which is in June. Then the first big test I think especially because of what this bill would do is the Virginia governor's race. We have two competitive primaries and then the question of, if you're a governor and this bill passes, what do you do? So we'll keep an eye on those as we watch the politics as the policy debate now goes to the Senate.

Up next, the president has to sign a spending bill today to keep the government from shutting down. But if you're a conservative, he prefers you keep your focus on health care or tax reform.


KING: Welcome back. At some point before midnight, President Trump will sign a big spending bill that keeps the government for the next five months. Those are the final five months of the fiscal year.