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Interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Democratic Presidential Candidate, Medicare for All; WAPO: 76 Billion Opioid Pills Flooded Market from 2006 to 2012; Puerto Rico Governor Refuses to Step Down Despite Protests; Meghan Markle on Her Marriage: They Don't Make It Easy. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 17, 2019 - 15:30   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: We have this just into CNN, the House will likely table a vote on an impeachment resolution from Democratic Congressman Al Green. Sources telling CNN we learned earlier that Democratic leaders are in favor of killing it. And of course, House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, says he expects all of his Republican members to vote to kill the resolution.

Now Senator Bernie Sander is taking the fight to fix healthcare right to his 2020 Democratic rivals and their campaign war chest. Challenging them to reject all donations from private health insurers and pharmaceutical companies. The reason? Sanders says you can't change a corrupt system by taking its money. In just a few minutes, Sanders will go into detail about his healthcare proposals. Earlier today, the Vermont Senator gave me a preview of his remarks and outlined who could potentially be affected.


CABRERA: When people hear your name, they think of your signature policy, Medicare for all. You're about to give a speech laying out more details. What do you want to make sure people know about your plan?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well I want people to understand a couple things. What I want people to understand are a couple of things, Ana. Number one, understand that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right, not as a commodity.

I live 60 miles away from the Canadian border. If you have heart surgery or cancer surgery in Canada, you leave that hospital without paying any bills whatsoever. Meanwhile in America today, where we spend twice as much per person on healthcare as do the people of any other nation, we have a dysfunctional system in which 80 million people, 80 million people are either uninsured or under insured. We have 30,000 people every year die because they don't get to the doctor on time. And where we ended up paying -- where we end up paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. One out of five Americans can't even afford the prescription drugs their doctors prescribed. So what we have got to do is create a healthcare system which is based

on the needs of the American people, not on the profits of the drug companies and the insurance companies. You tell me whether it's appropriate that 10 drug companies last year made $69 billion in profit, huge compensation packages for their CEO's, and yet so many of our people cannot afford the medicine they need.

[15:35:04] As you may know, at the end t of this month I'm going to Ontario, Canada, from Detroit, Michigan, with a busload people who have diabetes to buy insulin at one 10th of the price in Canada as we are forced to pay in the United States. So what this issue is about is having the courage to take on the drug companies and the insurance companies and tell them that the function of a rational healthcare system, is healthcare to all, not huge profits for the stockholders and CEO's of the healthcare industry.


CABRERA: Let's go live to CNN's Ryan Nobles at the Sanders event. Ryan, as the polls tighten, we're seeing Senator Sanders sharpen his critiques of Joe Biden who doesn't believe "Medicare for All" is the answer. He does believe in universal healthcare. The former Vice President he says is lying when Biden says Americans will lose their coverage in a Sanders administration. So will today speech focus more on Sanders vision or on his opponent?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do think, Ana, that the speech that Senator Sanders gives here today is going to be largely about his plan for "Medicare for All". We don't expect him to draw those specific distinctions with the other campaigns that have highlighted really a lot this week. And it's no coincidence that you see Senator Sanders taking an aggressive approach when it comes to healthcare. That's because you saw Vice President Biden release his plan on Monday. Kamala Harris, another chief rival in the Democratic primary, releasing her plan for prescription drugs.

And Bernie Sanders wants to make it clear to Democratic primary voters that healthcare is one of his signature issues. And he also wants to make it clear that he believes he goes the furthest when it comes to providing coverage at a low cost for the most Americans and that's what he's going to emphasize today.

But I think the big thing you've seen a shift in tone from Senator Sanders is instead of kind of talking broadly about how his plan is maybe different from some of the others in the race. He's now specifically talking about these other candidates. And we saw his campaign release a video today where they specifically called Vice President Biden a liar by the way that he's describing how "Medicare for All" would impact most Americans.

So this is a fight they want to have. They believe the Democratic primary voters are on their side when it comes to healthcare. That most believe that "Medicare for All" is the path forward. But it is certainly a gamble because Vice President Biden believes that many Democratic primary voters prefer to build on Obamacare. And that is the conversation that both sides are having this week -- Ana. CABRERA: All right, Ryan Nobles for us. Thank you, keep us posted on

any other interesting things he says at his upcoming event.

Senator Sanders will face off against his 2020 opponents at the end of the month on CNN. But tomorrow we'll find out which candidates will be on stage each night of those next debates. Don't miss the live draw for the CNN Democratic Debates tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern here on CNN.

Up next, we're live in Puerto Rico, as calls for the governor to resign are growing. The mayor of San Juan just laid out reasons why he has to go. In people are expected to take to the streets for another mass protest any moment.


CABRERA: A stunning new report out today from "The Washington Post" unmasking just how easy it is for doctors to prescribe copious amounts of highly addictive pain pills which are fueling the deadly opioid epidemic. Get this, 76 billion in just six years. That's how many opioid pain pills America's largest drug company saturated the market with from 2006 to 2012. Those drugs resulted in 100,000 related deaths during that same time period. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. Elizabeth, these numbers are astounding. What else was in the report.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, they really are. And when you put them on a per person scale, they're even more astounding. "The Washington Post" said, if you look at that time period, 2006 through 2012, enough opioids were prescribed that every man, woman and child in this country would have 36 pills a year -- 36 pills per person for everyone in the United States. That's a stunning number. If you look at the growth from 2016 to 2018, 8.4 billion pills to 12.6 billion. That's a 51 percent increase in just those seven years. And there were certain parts of the country that were harder hit. West Virginia had the highest number of pills per person, 66 pills per person. Not surprisingly, also the number of -- the highest number of opioid related deaths.

CABRERA: Wow. While I have you, Elizabeth, I also want to ask you about Ebola. Because the World Health Organization just declared an outbreak in the Congo as a public health emergency of international concern. What exactly does that mean?

COHEN: What that means is that before it was sort of thought that maybe this would stay in the Congo. It was in the Congo. It was in the more rule areas. But over the weekend, they had a case in Goma. And they're concerned, because that's a particularly large city that has an airport. It's kind of a hub, transportation hub, that makes them worry this could go further than just the Congo.

CABRERA: OK, Elizabeth Cohen, we know you'll keep us updated on that. Thank you very much.

Still ahead, a fact check on the White House cabinet meeting that you watched on this show yesterday. CNN has identified 13 lies that came out of the President's mouth. We'll debunk those for you when we come back.


[15:50:00] CABRERA: Protests in Puerto Rico are escalating into chaos as demonstrators demand the resignation of the Governor Ricardo Rossello. Thousands have taken to the streets following the leaks of Rossello's private group chats with his inner circle. Nearly 900 pages that were leaked revealing sexist and homophobic language, even jokes about the dead in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. CNN en Espanol correspondent Juan Carlos Lopez is in San Juan for us. Juan Carlos explain the broader context of why Puerto Ricans want Rossello to resign.

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If I could put it in a sentence, Anna, House of Cards is child's play compared to what is going on in Puerto Rico in the last weeks. The building you see in the back, that blue and white building that's La Fortaleza that's where the governor lives, that is the mansion. That is where the protests are ending and that's where thousands are expected to come tonight. Now there are several corruption scandals, some involving former government officials who resigned before they were indicted and arrested.

Then there was a firing of a treasury secretary and after he was fired there was a leak of those private conversations that have caused an uproar and have led many to ask for Governor Rossello to resign. It is a very controversial issue. The people we've spoke to are very upset. The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz spoke a moment ago talking about what they expect for tonight.

She's saying that the local police, the police of San Juan, the city she's a mayor of will not take part in repressing the protest and she was issuing a warning to the Governor Rossello asking him to resign. This is what he said.


MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Most of all, this is about in these pages, it says three things that are undisputable, one that Ricardo Rossello uses the power of the state to oppress and to persecute those who are his political opponents. Two, that Ricardo Rossello withheld aid that was coming to people after Irma and Maria because they say on that chat, we have to wait to produce the news. And number three, that Ricardo Rossello does not represent the better interest and the better nature of the people of Puerto Rico.


LOPEZ: Now the Governor Rossello has said repeatedly he will not resign. He was elected, he will stay to do the job. But the transition of power is very similar to what we have in the mainland U.S., the impeachment process is the same. Now what happened? The Secretary of State who would have to take over office if Rossello quit, resigned. And as his resignation was effective yesterday. So right now they don't have a clear way to replace Rossello if he were to resign. They do have an impeachment process in Puerto Rico's Constitution. They're studying the process now but, Anna, it is not clear what's going to happen or how long it might take. Rossello says he is staying.

CABRERA: And meantime some of these texts are disparaging against Puerto Rican celebrities, how are they responding?

LOPEZ: There is Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was part of those texts where someone made a reference to her being shot, being something positive. There's been homophobic, there has been misogynistic comments, they were even making fun of the bodies during Hurricane Maria. And one of the big issues that is -- that is a big debate here in Puerto Rico is how these scandals prove what President Trump said when he questioned aid for Puerto Rico when he said that the aid would not be spent wisely,

And to that question, the mayor and many others say these are just some members of the government, this doesn't represent all Puerto Ricans but this island is right now in the middle of a very deep, deep crisis and people are upset. Some support the governor, a lot don't.

CABRERA: OK, thank you so much, Juan Carlos Lopez in San Juan, Puerto Rico ahead of additional protests expected today.

Moments from now we are expecting the House will vote to table an impeachment resolution from Democratic Congressman Al Green. Sources telling CNN that Democratic leaders are in favor of killing it. We'll take you live to Capitol Hill as it all unfolds. Don't go anywhere.


CABRERA: We're getting a rare glimpse of how Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, really feels about all the scrutiny she's faced since joining the Royal family. Royal watchers have complained recently about the couple's $3 million home renovation and their decision to have a private christening for baby Archie, and it appears the constant judgments are getting to her. Listen to this exchange she had with musician Pharrell Williams at the London premiere of Disney's "Lion King".


PHARRELL WILLIAMS, MUSICIAN: Hey, how are doing, bro?

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I love the shorts.

WILLIAMS: So happy for you and your union, your love is amazing. It's wonderful, don't ever take that for granted, what I mean in today's climate. I just wanted to tell you it's so significant for so many of us, seriously. It's significant. We cheer you guys on.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Oh thank you. They don't make it easy.

WILLIAMS: So you understand -- so you understand it's significance. It's beautiful.


CABRERA: I know it was hard to hear so for those listening and not watching she said, "They don't make it easy." The Duchess made her first public outing with baby Archie last week to support Prince Harry as he played in a charity polo match.

That does it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera, thank you for joining us. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.