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At This Hour

Sanders Rolls Out Signature Campaign Issue: Medicare-for-All; Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Presidential Candidate, Discusses Medicare-for- All, Obamacare, Vaccination Safety, Assange Arrest; Arrest Made in Louisiana Black Church Burnings; Pecker Looking to Sell "National Enquirer". Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 11, 2019 - 11:30   ET




[11:31:11] SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should not tolerate a system which allows the top 10 drug companies to make $69 billion in profits last year while, at the same time -- and this is really unbelievable -- one out of five Americans who get a prescription from their doctor cannot even afford to fill that prescription.

The American people want, and we are going to deliver a Medicare-for- All single-payer system.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That is Bernie Sanders rolling out his signature issue for the 2020 campaign, as he reintroduced his Medicare-for-All proposal in the Senate. A proposal that has a lot of his fellow Democratic presidential contenders signing onto it already.

Here's what we know about it. It would be a fundamental overhaul of the entire health care system in the United States. It would wipe out the private health insurance industry as we know it, because Americans would no longer pay premiums or deductibles because the government would run and pay for it all. According to Sanders' new plan, private insurers could only provide benefits for things like elective surgeries, like cosmetic procedures, if you will. How much does it cost? We'll get to that in a second.

With President Trump now fighting in court to strike down all of Obamacare, you can see that the lines are being drawn for this to be a major issue in the fight for the White House.

If only we had someone running for the job that we could talk to. Or we do.

Joining me now, Democratic presidential candidate, Tim Ryan, of Ohio.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me. BOLDUAN: So you support Medicare-for-All. Why is that the best way

to fix a broken system?

RYAN: Well, I have been on the Medicare-for-All bill since 2007. But like anything, I think we need to take steps in that direction. I personally don't believe we need to take people off of their private health insurance if they enjoy it. We need to make sure there are protections there for them around pre-existing conditions and all of that.


BOLDUAN: Can you do both?

RYAN: Of course, you can.

BOLDUAN: Can you do -- can you do this -- I'm going to call it the dream of Medicare-for-All with a single-payer system, and keep private insurance companies and let people keep their private insurance?

RYAN: Yes, you can. Here's how I think you do that. I think the natural next step is for us to bring the Medicare system down to 50 or 55. It would take care of a large swath of people in the industrial Midwest and around the country who maybe lose their job when they're 55 or 60, have a rough time affording insurance. Then I think we help them pay for it. I also think a natural next step is to allow small businesses, who have 50 employees or under, to be able to buy into the Medicare system. That will help us grow our economy under entrepreneurship and innovation. That's a natural next step forward. We also should have a public option. Anyone who can't get health care should be able to buy into some kind of public system around the Medicare system.

BOLDUAN: Right. A public option is not Medicare-for-All, as it's being described, especially in the legislation we have seen. So do you see it more as, from your position, as you're talking to voters, as Medicare-for-All maybe is the dream, and the steps you have just laid out is the practical reality?

RYAN: Yes, I think so. I mean, the reality of it is that the current system is really inefficient. We spend two and a half times as much as every other industrialized country and get worse results. So I actually think we're having the wrong conversation, too, because the health care system right now is a disease-care system. And you have the pharmaceutical companies -- like Senator Sanders said, and I think appropriately so -- that are making billions and billions of dollars off a disease-care system. And so are the health insurance companies. So my question is, and my solution is, how do we frontload the system? And 75 percent to 80 percent of all chronic diseases that cost the health care system are preventable. So how do we move the system to more prevention based? How do we teach doctors in our medical schools to teach their patients how to be healthy? How do we incentivize businesses and patients and doctors to get paid to keep us healthy?


RYAN: How do we look at the food system and say, how is that affecting our health?

[11:35:44] BOLDUAN: All important things. This is a lot of the discussion around Obamacare as well. And so are you saying you think Obamacare has failed?

RYAN: Well, it's not worked quite like we wanted because we have the Republicans trying to completely dismantle it. So it never really had the chance to work. But providing universal coverage, making sure everybody in the wealthiest country on God's green earth should be able to get health care for their kids or for their family when they get sick, I don't think that's too much to ask. So the question is, how do we --

BOLDUAN: It comes with a price tag though, right? You have estimates on Medicare-for-All, at least the way we have seen it, I don't know, we keep saying all over the map because it's ranging from $1 trillion a year to $3.5 trillion a year. If people like folks in your district are hurting financially, how do you convince them that cost is worth it?

RYAN: Well, the question is, you're not paying both health insurance, so take what you're paying every month in health insurance costs and then take what you would pay into the Medicare program, and you're going to save a heck of a lot more money by going into the Medicare program because it's stable and more efficient and there's not the entire profit motive. Take out your current health insurance that you're paying. That's why it makes sense. At the end of the day, let's take the first step. Let's help small businesses be able to buy into this program. And let's flip this whole system into a more preventative-based system where we're incentivizing doctors, patients, health care system --


RYAN: -- so they can make money to keep us healthy.

BOLDUAN: On the most basic level, do you think it's a bad idea to wipe out private insurance?

RYAN: Today, yes. Yes. There's a lot of people who enjoy --

BOLDUAN: In 10 years?

RYAN: Well, we'll have to say. That's why I'm saying, you know --


BOLDUAN: That's what you're saying, steps to that. You don't want to -- I see what you're saying. You don't want to cut it off at the knees right now.

RYAN: I want to --

BOLDUAN: You want steps to it.

RYAN: Yes. I want to hit a grand-slam homerun, but there's nobody on the bases. Let's move down this road. Let's see how it looks. Let's build trust among the American people that this is a system that can really deliver good quality, affordable health care for them and how it's good for the economy, and then let's see where we go from there.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned wellness and prevention. Health and wellness is something that you have been talking about, writing about, for years.

RYAN: Yes.

BOLDUAN: There has been some reporting this week about your support of two wellness experts, wellness gurus, who have both been publicly skeptical about the safety of vaccines. With the measles outbreak, just as an example, in multiple states right now in the country, outbreaks that are preventable through vaccinations, I want to give you a chance to clear up your position on the safety of vaccines.

RYAN: Well, the most straightforward way I can say it is we vaccinate our kids. And I believe that we should vaccinate our kids, period. And I'm associated with those people with regard to healthy food and wellness. And I think there's a lot that we can do around wellness. And they have been two great advocates around making sure that we get healthy. Again, we're talking about a disease-care system. And we have to move to a health care system. We have to talk about incentivizing all of these things to keep us healthy.


RYAN: That, at the end of the day, is how we're going to knee cap the pharmaceutical industry, by staying healthy.

BOLDUAN: So if a voter comes up to you and says, Congressman, do you think vaccines are safe, what do you say to them?

RYAN: I say we vaccinate our kids. And I think they are. And Brady is 4.5 years old. And he got all of his shots.

BOLDUAN: Brady and my daughter are probably exactly the same age. We'll talk about their birth dates later, not on camera.

RYAN: All right.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you, as this happening today, I do want to ask you, Julian Assange arrested. An extradition request from the United States, charged with conspiracy to hack a government computer. What do you think should happen to Julian Assange? Do you see him as a journalist or as a criminal?

RYAN: Well, I think he should be prosecuted. You know, these are important issues. I think you look at what's happening with Russia today, you see what they're trying to do, trying to damage our economy. They're trying to damage our political system. And anybody contributing in any way to that I think needs to be punished. And we need to be strict on these issues. We can't have people stealing secrets from the United States.

[11:40:15] BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you so much for coming on. In New Hampshire, where I think --

RYAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: -- you'll probably be spending a lot of time, I'm just guessing --

RYAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: -- in the next few months. We'll catch up to you on the trail. Thank you, sir.

RYAN: Thank you. And if you're supportive of what we're saying, go to if you're interested in helping us out. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: You wouldn't be running for president if he weren't asking for help.

Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Coming up, three black churches in 10 days burned. Now authorities in Louisiana have made an arrest. Who is the man that they have arrested? What is his connection to law enforcement? Officials are holding a press conference in Louisiana right now. We have some updates. That's next.


[11:45:25] BOLDUAN: Moments ago, officials in Louisiana just identified the man that they say burned down three historically black churches in 10 days. This man, 21-year-old Holden Matthews, has been arrested, and he's also the son of a sheriff's deputy there.

CNN's Victor Blackwell has been following this. He's joining me now.

Victor, they just wrapped this press conference. What's did you learn?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've learned that Holden Matthews, this 21-year-old, police there, the sheriff's office, says they are extremely confident that this is their suspect taken into custody yesterday. They believe he's responsible for those three black church burnings between March 26th and April 4th that terrorized this part of Louisiana there in St. Landry parish, just about an hour's drive west of Baton Rouge.

As you mentioned, the sheriff said that Holden Matthews is the son of a deputy in his department. Also, the sheriff described this deputy as his best friend there. And how difficult it was to explain to his friend and deputy that his son, he believes, was responsible for these burnings.

We do not know exactly how they determined Holden Matthews was responsible, but we have learned from the sheriff there that this deputy, the father, did not know anything about what his son was allegedly doing. Did not help to turn him in, but did facilitate the arrest, getting Matthews away from their family home.

These counts that he's been charged with, simple arson of religious -- burning of religious building, felonies, obviously, come with significant jail time and a $15,000 fine potentially.

The governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, says this period reminded Louisiana of a dark past of intimidation and fear.

And here's what we heard from the state fire marshal.


BUTCH BROWNING, LOUISIANA STATE FIRE MARSHAL: This community is safe again. We are extremely unequivocally confident we have the person who is responsible for these tragic crimes on these three churches. And I have to tell you, this investigation is probably one of the most unique arson investigations that I have been involved in, in my 33 years, in that this was an attack on the house of God.


BLACKWELL: We know that in addition to local and state investigators, the ATF, the FBI assisted in the investigation.

That deputy, the suspect's father, is said to be hurt and shocked. But all officials there believe that the terror is over -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Still the questions are going to linger until there's a firm answer of just why this person would do this.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Victor.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the "National Enquirer" is up for sale. Why now? And who's buying?

We'll be right back.


[11:52:48] The owner of the "National Enquirer" confirms he's looking to sell the controversial tabloid. The parent company of "The Enquirer" and its CEO, David Pecker, have been in legal turmoil, to say the least, due to Pecker's dealings with President Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Pecker was even granted immunity by the Southern District of New York in their case. And that's not even to mention the tabloid's role in publishing intimate photos of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that revealed an extra marital affair, just to name a few.

Brian Stelter is here. He's CNN's chief media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

Why is AMI making this play now?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": I think because this tabloid has been in so much legal jeopardy, so many legal quagmires and, frankly, the investors have had enough. The "Washington Post," which broke this news overnight, says that the hedge fund that controls "The Enquirer" is sick of the content, grossed out by the content. Now, I'm a little intrigued by that because --


STELTER: -- "The Enquirer" has been doing this for years, for decades, actually.


BOLDUAN: -- alien invasions.

STELTER: Maybe. But the hedge fund apparently has had enough and so has the board of directors of American Media. They own a lot of other magazines, like "Muscle" and "Fitness" and "Men's Health." They want to focus on those and not on these supermarket tabloids. They are looking for a buyer. The deal should happen in the coming days. I can't help but wonder if Jeff Bezos would want to buy "The Enquirer" just to shut it down. You know, that would be something --


STELTER: -- out of a movie or a TV script or something.

BOLDUAN: I saw you write that in your newsletter.


BOLDUAN: I thought that was a really provocative thought.

STELTER: It's a heck of a thought. It's going to be some billionaire that buys this tabloid. It's not a great business. Doesn't make a lot of money. So they will have other motivations.


STELTER: Obviously, Bezos, his wife was exposed by "The Enquirer." So you have to wonder.

BOLDUAN: It goes into the category of, I don't know about Bezos, of why not?


STELTER: Why not?


STELTER: We'll see who ends up buying. But Bezos, on a very serious note, is about to meet with federal prosecutors here in New York. Our colleagues broke this news yesterday as well. Bezos sitting down and talking about the allegations that somehow Saudis gained access to his private information and maybe that's how "The Enquirer" found out about his love life. That is very interesting. That --


BOLDUAN: That's wrapped into the brother of the woman that he was having an affair with?

STELTER: Because "The Enquirer" says it was only the brother that was the source.


STELTER: Jeff Bezos' camp says, no, this was a foreign government that might have been involved. So federal prosecutors here in New York are looking at that claim. They are investigating.

I think it shows that the legal issues around this tabloid are very serious and are escalating. And that's why David Pecker, a former friend of President Trump's, he's trying to cut bait and sell the magazine. It's a mess.

[11:55:12] BOLDUAN: Geez, Louise. All right.

STELTER: It's a mess.

BOLDUAN: A mess and there's more to come.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brian. Good to see you.

Any minute, the Justice Department will hold a press conference on the dozens of new charges that have just been filed against attorney, Michael Avenatti. His future, his defense, his fight against it, you'll want to hear it. Stay with us.