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U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis Looms Large Over Global Gathering; Nebraska Passes Bill To Restrict Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care; Dozens Of Migrants Arrive Via Bus At New NYC Arrival Center; Undocumented Workers Weigh Leaving FL Over New Immigration Law; NYC Sinking Under The Weight Of Its Skyscrapers; Montana Bans Social App TikTok Over Security Concerns & Creators Sue; Many Want To Ban TikTok, Viewing It As A National Security Threat; Health Insurance Companies Denying In-Network Claims For Illogical Reasons. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 20, 2023 - 17:00   ET




PAULA REID, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Reid in Washington. Jim Acosta has the day off.

Now it is 5:00 p.m. at the White House, and we are now one hour closer to the nation potentially defaulting on its debt. That would be unprecedented and potentially catastrophic for the global economy.

Now, despite a deadline as close as 12 days away, the high-stakes negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans have broken down and it's not clear when they might resume. A U.S. debt default would affect economies around the world, so the concerns of course, have loomed over the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

The president though says he's not concerned at all.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It goes in stages. And what happens is the first meetings weren't all that progressive. The second ones were. Third one was.

And then what happens is the carriers go back to the principals and say, this is what we're thinking about. And then people put down new plan (ph). I still believe we will be able to avoid a default and we'll get something decent done.


REID: Phil Mattingly joins us from that gathering of world leaders. Phil, what's the level of concern there and where do things stand at this hour?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think when you talk to White House officials they maintain that there is a pathway forward. And yet they are willing to a knowledge that things are not in a very good place right now.

Now, what you heard from the president was an accurate representation of kind of the rhythm of the last several days in terms of the meetings. What he did not include was the part between the bad meetings and that resolution. They've kind of skipped that part. That's the really important part.

The negotiators right now, there has not been a meeting with White House negotiators and the Republican counterparts today. By all accounts, it doesn't look like there is going to be a meeting at all.

And I think what you have seen throughout the course of this summit is that the president has had to balance these things. He's gotten briefed by his top negotiators every morning and evening, has attempted to try and figure out a pathway forward here.

But what's also interesting is he's had to address this with other G7 leaders, so is his national security advisor. I asked Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, what he was hearing. This is what he said.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: It is definitely a subject of interest here at the G7. You know, countries want to have a sense of how these negotiations are going to play out and the president has expressed confidence that he believes that we could drive to an outcome where we do avoid default.

And part of the reason that he's returning home tomorrow rather than continuing with the rest of the trip is so that he can help lead the effort to bring it home.

This is not generating alarm or a kind of vibration in the room. I would just say that the countries are keenly interested in what is a, you know, significant story. And the president has been able to tell them, you know, that he believes that we can get to a good result here.


MATTINGLY: And Paula, as Jake noted, the second half of President Biden's trip to the two other stops of this three-stop trip have already been canceled. The president is expected to leave after this final day of the summit to head home. And it is clear at this point that he will be heading home with his team and the Republican negotiators no closer to an agreement than seemingly when he left.

REID: Well Phil, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has made, of course, a dramatic appearance at the summit. What is the significance of his presence there?

MATTINGLY: I mean dramatic is the right way to frame things and I think it really it really underscores what we have seen over the course of last ten days. President Zelenskyy hitting European capitals, attending the Arab League summit as well in Saudi Arabia and now coming here where the G7 leaders have been unified and steadfast in their support of Ukraine in the 15 months of Russia's invasion.


MATTINGLY: There is no chance that was going to change necessarily, but every time Zelenskyy comes and makes personal appeals, you saw it in Washington in December, what he is able to do is both rally the support, maintain that support but also generally secure commitments.

And that will include the U.S. When he meets with President Biden later today, he is expected to secure another package of defense assistance with munitions critical given the fact Ukrainian military is planning its counter offensive now, Paula.

REID: Phil Mattingly, thank you.

And back here in the U.S., the battle over abortion rights continues to unfold as more states pass severe restrictions on the procedure. Nebraska's legislature is the latest to approve a 12-week ban.

Police arrested several people as protesters passed the state Capitol yesterday. Despite the outcry, lawmakers approved the ban along with legislation to outlaw gender affirming care for transgender Nebraskan residents under the age of 19.

For more on this we go live to CNN's Camila Bernal. Camila, when can these new policies take effect?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey Paula. So we first need the governor to sign this, which we fully expect him to do, so really we're just waiting for the governor. But when it comes to the gender affirmative care part of this, it would go into effect after the signature on October 1st.

When it comes to the abortion part of this bill, it would go into effect the day after the governor signs it.

Now, wet me go into the abortion part of it. And that is that in Nebraska, it will be illegal for anyone to perform an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. You are seeing some exceptions for sexual assault, incest and medical emergencies.

And then this all will, like I said, go into effect the day after the governor signs it. But this was just an amendment to a bill that was really focused on gender-affirming care. This was added last may. It was actually added on Wednesday to the broader legislation, which they call Let Them Grow Act.

So there was a lot of debate about all of this. And of course, part of the debate was on the abortion part of it. Here is what some of these lawmakers said on Friday.


MIKE JACOBSON (R), NEBRASKA STATE SENATE: We're not the bad guys. We're trying to protect young children and young adults before the age of 19, and we're trying to protect free born children from being brutally murdered in the womb.

GEORGE DUNGAN (D), NEBRASKA STATE SENATE: Colleagues, we should not be in the business of telling people what they can and can't do with their bodies. And we should not be in the business of stepping between doctors and patients in circumstances like this.


BERNAL: Now, when it comes to gender affirming care minors, really anyone under the age of 19, will not be able to get a gender transition surgery. These are actually rare for minors. But they also won't be able to have access to the puberty blocking medication and the hormone treatments. That is actually a lot more common in youth and teens, Paula.

REID: Camila Bernal, thank you.

And this afternoon, another group of migrants arrived via bus at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. That's the site of a new welcome center for asylum seekers.

It's the next step in the city's response to the ongoing surge of migrants being bussed north. Officials had planned to relocate migrants to towns outside of the city limits, but they're facing mounting resistance. More than a dozen nearby counties have already issued states of emergency in response.

CNN's Gloria Pazmino joins us now from outside the Roosevelt Hotel. Gloria, what are you seeing there?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Paula, let me tell you a little bit about the scenes that I have been watching unfold here all day.

We have been watching some city busses arrive at the Roosevelt Hotel behind me. In fact, I want to give you a look. If you see that white van that's there, directly behind it is the city bus. And likely what's about to happen is that there is a group of migrants that is likely waiting inside the hotel to board that bus and then they will be taken to another shelter.

And the reason for that is that the city has located this hotel and assigned it to be a sort of welcoming center. I believe we have pictures and images from the inside of the hotel. You can see that the city has tried to set up a welcome center that is supposed to connect migrants with resources.

They are arriving here after being bussed to port authority bus terminals, most likely from places like Texas and the southern border. When they arrive here, they are given food, water, medical treatment if it's necessary. They're given a place to rest, a place to clean up, a place to spend the night if they need to. And then they are sent to other shelters around the city.

Now that is the place where the city is facing some serious challenges. Capacity is starting to run out. [17:09:55]

PAZMINO: And as you mentioned at the top, there has been a lot of back and forth between municipalities after the city tried to send some migrants.

I talked to one of the advocates to get his reaction about the politics and the rhetoric around the issue.


MURAD AWAWDEH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK IMMIGRATION COALTION: New York has welcomed people for centuries from across the world -- from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

Immigrants and refugees have built the city, have really are part and parcel of the social fabric and cultural fabric of what we call New York not just here in the city but across the state.

And immigrant communities and refugees have actually brought back communities and have been the backbone of local economy.


PAZMINO: Now, despite New York's reputation as being a place that is welcoming of migrants, it has faced some challenges from the suburbs in the surrounding area who have filed lawsuits trying to stop the city from bussing migrants there.

But the mayor of New York, Eric Abrams, has said that he basically has no choice because the city is running out of space. So that is the biggest challenge that lays ahead for the city of New York as migrants continue to arrive here in big numbers.

We are expecting to see at least a dozen buses over this weekend. So the crisis of shelter and housing for migrants here in New York continues, very much at play, Paula.

REID: Gloria Pazmino, thank you.

And a restrictive new immigration legislation in Florida has some undocumented immigrants fleeing the state. The controversial law requires employers with at least 25 employees to verify the immigration status of their workers.

CNN's Carlos Suarez spoke to some of the people facing a tough choice, to risk it and stay or give up their livelihoods.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Francisco Maldonado finds himself struggling to ease the fears of workers on his farm in Homestead, Florida. Many are undocumented and all are facing important decisions in the wake of Florida's new immigration law.

FRANCISCO MALDONADO, FARM OWNER: We're going to try to see if we can make them stay as long as we can, you know. I don't know what's going to happen after July 1st. From now on, it's just rumors and just people thinking that they have to leave.

SUAREZ: One of his workers, Faustino, says he knows of workers leaving Florida over the uncertainty. Faustino said he came to the U.S. from Guatemala at the age of 14. But after nearly 20 years of planting and picking fruits and vegetables in south Florida, he's not going anywhere.

"It's sad that some people are moving or they're scared to go to work. If we don't do these jobs who's going to do them? We're the ones who have to do this work."

The new law, which goes into effect in July requires a business with at least 25 workers to use e-verify, a federal program that checks the immigration status of workers with penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

Most farm owners including Maldonado say they keep the number of employees under 20.

MALDONADO: We had a lot more workers, but we cut back a little bit. So I think we're still on the right number. And I don't think it's going to affect us much. But we still don't know yet.

SUAREZ: The impact of the new law goes beyond jobs. Certain hospitals will have to ask patients about their immigration status and the law makes it a felony to transport someone in the country illegally into Florida.

For Governor Ron DeSantis, the expansion of e-verify is making good on a promise he made in 2018 during his first run for governor.

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We want businesses to hire citizens and legal immigrants, but we want them to follow the law and not do illegal immigrants. And that's not that difficult to do.

SUAREZ: In response to the law, the national Hispanic rights group LULAC urged immigrants, no matter their status, not to travel to Florida. Locally, immigration advocacy groups like WeCount are meeting with workers in agriculture, hospitality and construction to answer questions about the changes.

ESTEBAN WOOD, POLICY DIRECTOR, WECOUNT: These immigrant workers really are the drivers of Florida's economy. And what Florida is doing by the government, by imposing and implementing this law is really punching down on the communities that make this economy run.

SUAREZ: For some workers, the fear of losing their job is overwhelming. A 21-year-old nursery worker cried out of frustration saying she and her 3-year-old child have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to.

"I worry for myself and I worry for others. We're all in this together. And the situation is tough." There's been talk of a work stoppage to protest the new immigration law with folks taking to social media to post videos of empty job sites and farming fields. However that is something that immigration groups tell us they're not seeing just yet.


SUAREZ: In fact, every single worker that we talked to this week told us they can't afford not to be in the fields, they can't afford not to be making money and sending that money back to their families.

Carlos Suarez, CNN -- Homestead, Florida.


REID: New York's most famous borough has a real problem on its hand. Manhattan is sinking. We'll explain coming up.

Plus, one state is banning Tiktok, but can it really be stopped?

And later, even as home prices fall, there is a new reason why home sales are also falling. And those high mortgage rates are, of course, to blame.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


REID: Is the Big Apple simply too big? A new geological study says New York's skyscrapers are so heavy they're pushing the city down causing it to sink ever so slightly every year. And being a coastal city, that's a big problem.

CNN's Bill Weir explains.



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: We have the answer to a question your child is bound to ask you: how much does New York City weigh. 1.7 trillion pounds we now know as the skyscrapers in this town seem to get taller every year.

But more important than that number is the more than a trillion tons of heat traffic pollution that humanity has put into the sea and sky in the last 150 years, which is, of course, melting the poles and causing a slow but steady sea level rise.

So as New York, along with so many coastal cities around the world subsides a little bit, sea level is rising. That's why they say coastal cities will be three to four times more vulnerable to sea level rise than on more stable places.

You can hear in the background the beautiful music. The Calliope of Jane's (ph) Carousel. This is the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. And those with the memory going back nine years you might recall super storm Sandy that devastated this waterfront along the East River. The waves were 8 feet high against the glass here. It survived. But now, nine years later, they are shoring up the river bank.

You see the barge out there with all the boulders on it? This is part of a (INAUDIBLE) program that just starts the process of fortifying New York City against rising seas.

The Army Corps of Engineers has a number of different scenarios for sea wall construction, multi-billion dollar, multi-decade long projects to try to protect, of course, the financial center of Manhattan, the shipping ports on the Jersey side as well.

And the other interesting thing, as the planet warms, it looks like the natural wind sheer that used to protect New York City from hurricanes is going away. So the chances of another super storm Sandy go up as the temperature goes up. The predictions are sea level rise could be anywhere from 7 inches to two feet by 2050, which is not that long away.

The only difference in those is how much more fossil fuel pollution humanity puts in the sky. That is the switch that is controlling this temperature movement right now.

But in the meantime, it is a beautiful day. And you wouldn't know a place like this is gradually moving. But such is the power of humanity these days in the age of the Anthropocene.


REID: Thanks to Bill Weir. Let's discuss with weather and climate science writer Bob Henson. He's a meteorologist and journalist with Yale Climate Connections.

Hi, Bob. How much is the sea level rise around New York likely to create more severe weather emergencies in the coming years?

BOB HENSON, WEATHER AND CLIMATE JOURNALIST: Well, sea level rise is certainly a problem not only in New York City but particularly to the U.S. along the whole East Coast and the Gulf Coast.

Sea level is rising on the West Coast as well, obviously. But there are circulation features in the ocean that are making sea level rise a little more for of a problem on the Gulf and Atlantic coast. And that extends all up and down the coast, you know, not only because of the skyscraper effect you are hearing about, but there is (INAUDIBLE) going on in many locations which is the water being withdrawn from ground level. So the land is simply sinking as a result of that.

So it's kind of a (INAUDIBLE) times. The land is sinking and sea level rising. We are going to see many more days of what we call sunny day flooding where, you know, you might just have nice weather but the astronomical tides get worse and worse and you see flooding in many places on tens or hundreds of days even if we're go out to the middle of the century. So it's a real and serious concern. REID: I want to ask you about a different kind of climate issue. Smoke

from wild fires burning in western Canada is beginning to drift into the U.S. and air quality alerts have been issued in several central and western states as the smoke is also expected to continue to move east.

So how concerned should Americans in those areas be about the air? And are you surprised to see how extreme the situation in Canada has become?

HENSON: Well, I lived in the Colorado front (ph) range for decades. And I've never seen the day in the month of May like this. We had Denver yesterday at one point had the second dirtiest air of any large city in the whole world.

It is tangible. You can taste and smell it when you walk outside. So it is certainly a local concern. And nationally, the smoke plumes from the Canada fires are migrating their way around the country. There is a band from the Midwest down to Texas and then all through the central northern Rockies (INAUDIBLE).

This could persist for several days because we have a topsy-turvy weather pattern where extreme heat is hitting Canada while most of the U.S. Is at or below average temperature. That may continue for a few days with light winds and really not much to get this smoke out of here.

So certainly in areas where smoke levels are high and people should be curtailing their outdoor activities, wearing masks if you're smoke sensitive, if you are younger or older, probably best to just step back from the outdoor activities until the smoke is (INAUDIBLE).


REID: This week, the U.N. released an alarming report on the state of the climate crisis. Some of the headlines here. "98 percent chance the warmest year on record in the next five years. A 66 percent chance we will pass a dangerous global warming temperature threshold."

What do you think people should take away from this report?

HENSON: Well, I think it's extremely likely we're going to have the hottest year on record even next year in 2024. Perhaps even this year because we have an El Nino on the way later this year. An El Nino tends to boost air temperature around the world. A La Nina brings it down which we've had for the last three years. So El Nino will certainly pump (ph) this out.

Now, hitting the 1.5 C threshold which this report is referring to, this is going to be a temporary approach to that threshold. Just like a wave and they push water up to shore, do not cover the shore permanently. It's going to take a few more years before we really, seriously have a long term (INAUDIBLE) threshold.

And obviously, it is a huge concern going forward, and we got to, you know, keep emissions level or going down as they have been in the U.S. going down even further.

REID: Bob Henson, thank you.

HENSON: Thank you.

REID: And Montana takes on TikTok. The app is now banned from being downloaded in the state. Some users and content creators are suing. We'll ask a national security expert whether restrictions like this are an overreaction.

You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.



REID: A group of TikTok users are suing the state of Montana after it banned downloads of the social media app to state residents.

It is the furthest a state government has gone to restrict access to TikTok. And it comes amid calls by some federal lawmakers for a national ban.

So why is the popular app such a target?

Well, CNN senior data reporter, Harry Enten, joins us to run the numbers.

Harry, great to see you.

I want to start off by asking, for anyone living under a rock, just how popular is TikTok among young adults?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Let me just tell you, it is growing and growing and growing.

You know, TikTok, of course, wasn't on the scene until the middle of the last decade. But look at this rise. U.S. adults that use TikTok, it was 3 percent in 2019, 12 percent in 2020, 21 percent in 2021, 30 percent last year.

And look at this, up to 38 percent of U.S. adults now say they use TikTok.

I truly -- you know, I look at trends for a living. I'm not sure I've seen such an explosive trend with the number of adults that use TikTok. It's unbelievable.

REID: That is unbelievable. I'm not on TikTok. Are you on TikTok, Harry?

ENTEN: No. I am not on TikTok. YouTube and Twitter are it for me in terms of social media.

REID: Yes, same, Twitter and Instagram.

How popular is it among teenagers in the U.S.?

ENTEN: Even more so. Look at this, look at TikTok. It's number one compared to Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook. And 67 percent of teenagers said last year that they used TikTok.

Of course, it wasn't even available back in 2014. So the fact is, whatever we're seeing among adults, among teenagers the trend is more explosive. The vast majority of teenagers are on TikTok.

REID: That is wild! Like a good elder Millennial, most of the ones I see are the ones people repost on Instagram.

But how do Americans feel about teenagers using TikTok and generally how they feel about it?

ENTEN: Yes. The views are not so positive. So 74 percent of adults registered voters believe that, in fact, it harms teens' mental health.

Look at that. Part of the reason they don't like TikTok, 68 percent believe that, in fact, TikTok collects Americans data to share with the Chinese government.

So views on TikTok not really that popular among voters.

REID: But do these negative feelings translate into people wanting it banned?

ENTEN: Yes. It definitely does. So look at this. Should TikTok be banned in the United States? And 50 percent of adults support it, 22 percent oppose it. Look, there is that clear number, 28 percent who are unsure.

There are still a lot of Americans -- you know, positions will be fluid because TikTok only recently came on the scene. But the fact is the clear plurality of support of banning TikTok in the United States.

REID: Harry Enten, thank you so much for breaking this down.

Now be sure to check out Harry's podcast, "Margins of Error." You can find it on your favorite podcast app or at It's a great picture.

And as Harry showed us, the TikTok ban is one of the most popular social media platforms out there being targeted. But officials are also worried, look, that popularity is what makes this a serious threat to national security.

Joining us now is former general counsel for the NSA, Glenn Gerstel.

Glenn, what concerns do you have? Let me start off. Are you on TikTok?

GLENN GERSTELL, FORMER NSA GENERAL COUNSEL: I'm not on TikTok and I have told my kids not to be on TikTok. Whether they follow my advice is another question.

REID: What concerns do you have about TikTok?

GERSTELL: There is no question that China generally presents an adversarial threat. In particular, TikTok has the potential for cache of user information on a vast scale.

There is potential for that being sent back to China and the potential for disinformation. We have seen evidence of that. There's also the potential for disinformation.

It is a definitely threat that hasn't necessarily turned into reality yet. There is no proof it's actually been misused that way. But it is a threat.

And that's why I think a ban on the military using TikTok or government officials or our spies or diplomats, that all makes sense. A public ban, different question.


REID: Is it fair to say, though, look, when it comes to Russia, China hacking, they have a lot of access to your data already. Does TikTok really change the calculus there or change your vulnerability?

GERSTELL: I don't think TikTok changes the vulnerability for the general population. Again, for members of the military, who we geolocate their positions, perhaps that's a different entity. For the general population, I don't think it makes a difference.

If China was interested in finding out a lot of data about Americans and tracking it, it could already go to the data brokers, buy all that information with a little bit of effort, put it together, and compile as much information as they could by mining TikTok.

Which again, hasn't been shown to have occurred. Doesn't mean it could occur but it hasn't been shown.

REID: And the Montana ban was meant, in part, to protect people from China. Some creators have already sued Montana. How do you see this playing out in court?

GERSTELL: So first, I think most First Amendment experts would say that this, indeed, is not permissible under the Constitution. Montana cannot just ban a social media platform.

President Trump tried to do that with TikTok and WeChat. In 2020, the court threw that out on various grounds.

But it is clear that a government cannot ban a social media app, which is essentially banning speech. So I think that court case will be successful for the people challenging it.

REID: Lawmakers are concerned about this. What, if anything, can they do?

GERSTELL: There's a lot of steps we can do. The first thing we should be doing and Congress should be doing is addressing the user data problem by adapting federal privacy legislation.

This is something Congress has been talking about for decades and they have never been able to do it. There is now more emphasis on it.

We can also take steps to deal with disinformation. We can do better public education, more digital literacy. There's a lot of steps we can take short of a ban, which is a bad precedent and bad public policy.

REID: That's very interesting. I will continue to get my TikTok videos on Instagram.

Glenn Gerstell, thank you so much for joining us.

GERSTELL: Thank you.

REID: All right. Maybe you are one of the millions of Americans with this problem. You file an insurance claim, it gets denied and the reason makes no sense. We ask an expert why this seems to be happening more and more.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.



REID: If your health insurance claims get denied for reasons that don't make any sense, you are not alone.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found patients getting care from in-network doctors were denied at alarming rates. The report found that 17 issuers were denying 30 percent or more of in-network claims in 2021.

Elisabeth Rosenthal joins us now. She's the senior contributing editor at "KFF Health News" and the author of "An American Sickness, How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back."

Elisabeth, thank you for joining us.


REID: You wrote an op-ed for "The Washington Post" this week detailing one case where a newborn baby was sent a letter for his fourth day in a neonatal ICU.

You write that this denial was even directed to the baby and said, quote, "You were drinking from a bottle and you were breathing on your own."

What the heck? ROSENTHAL: Right. Well, clearly, that was not generated by human

hands, right? And that's part of the reason denials have become kind of a fire hose, is because so many of them now are automated.

And, you know, the second reason, though, the underlying reason is because the Affordable Care Act tasked the government with tracking denials. And, for that reason, presumably policing them to make sure they were rational.

And it's really not performed that task over a decade later.

REID: So are you saying that so many of these claims are being denied because the process for approval has changed and become largely automated?

ROSENTHAL: Sure. I mean, so much of healthcare has become automated.

But it's not just that. I mean, that has made it easy. There was a study that estimated the insurance agency was saving $11 billion by automating claims.

But even ones that are not automated, they're just processed quickly or even by low-level people that don't have the expertise and who don't even look at the chart. You know, the first response is denied.

And I think the most amazing fact, the disturbing fact of that study is that only one in 500 claims that are denied are appealed. So that means a lot of people either are paying out-of-pocket or going without needed care.

REID: Why do you think more people don't appeal? It takes a lot of time, of course, resources. They don't know their options. Why do you think that option is so low?

ROSENTHAL: Well, I think, you know, in some cases, it's because we have all experienced this. You go to the pharmacy counter and the pharmacist says your insurance isn't covering it, and it's, you know, $20, $30 and you just can't deal with the hassle.

But I think in other cases, you know, the appeals process is opaque. It's time-consuming. You need to understand healthcare codes. And I think people just don't have the time or the money to go through that process.

It's exhausting. I mean, anyone who has tried it knows it's -- you know, at some level people just give up and say, OK, I won't get that MRI. And, you know, in some percentage of cases, that's tragic and leads to really bad results.


REID: Absolutely. But, of course, it is different when it is lifesaving medical care. We all know people who receive lifesaving medical care only to be told by an insurance company that was not, quote, unquote, "medically necessary."

What do people do in that situation?

ROSENTHAL: Well, then you just have to have a really stiff spine and go back at the insurer and at the hospital and figure out where the error was.

I mean, I do recommend to people if it is an employer-sponsored plan, you engage your H.R. office because they often really know how to fight these battles better than the average mortal does.

But, you know, you just got to go back and go back and go back.

And the hours and weeks that people waste appealing claims that are obviously, you know, lifesaving, need to be paid, should be paid. It's really criminal.

REID: We all know this all too well, unfortunately.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, thank you so much.

ROSENTHAL: Thanks for having me.

REID: We'll be right back.



REID: Nearly a year ago, a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 students and two teachers. Outside the classroom doors, law enforcement waited for 77 minutes before breaching the scene and ending the massacre.

One of those students was Lexi Rubio, a 10-year-old, who made the Honor Roll earlier that day.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz spoke to Lexi's parents about the 77 minutes and how, one year later, they still don't have answers.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: What is your understanding of what went wrong that day?

KIMBERLY MATA-RUBIO, LEXI RUBIO'S MOTHER: My understanding is the first group of officers that come in here, they're shot at, they retreat, and they never go back in. They let children die in that classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding? No, that's classroom.

MATA-RUBIO: And I can't even explain to you what they've taken from me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the class.

MATA-RUBIO: It's more than just lives.

You know, maybe Lexi's gone immediately, but that's what they've taken from me those answers had they engaged immediately and my child is deceased then I know in my heart that she wasn't scared very long.

But because they waited so long, now I'll never know. I don't know if it was fast. I don't know if it took 30, 40 minutes. And that's hard. That's hard to sit with.


REID: An incredible interview.

Shimon joins us now.

Shimon, you have deservedly won just about every major award in journalism for your incredible coverage over the last year. This week's episode of "THE WHOLE STORY" with Anderson Cooper looks back at the past year since the Uvalde shooting.

What did you learn when talking to the victims of families for this special?

PROKUPECZ: Well, one of the things, certainly, that we learned is that they are still suffering from terrible loss, terrible grief. And even a year later, it doesn't get any better.

One of the things that I found, I guess, troubling is that, in some cases, people may be worse off today since this first happened. And I thought that was something that was really very troubling, honestly, because they don't have the services there.

They don't have that strong community there for support. And so much is lacking there.

And after such horrific incidents, you want to believe there's hope and you want to believe people are getting better and that things are coming around. And I don't think it is happening in this community.

And obviously, the other thing we learned is that these families are still starving for information. Trying to figure out exactly how their kids died. How their kids were injured.

And one the of the remarkable things, Paula, that happens, while we were in Uvalde filming this, out of the blue, one of the survivors' moms, one of the moms of one of the little boys called me and said she wants to see body camera footage of the moment police breached the classroom and save her kid.

And that other mothers also wanted to see this video of their kids being saved by the police.

So in this documentary, we sit with them. We show them the footage and then we air the footage. We show how their kids were injured. And also, a moment where all the injured kids are together on a school bus being taken to the hospital.

The families of these survivors have never seen this video before. For the first time, the country, the world will get to see their reaction and some of this video.

REID: What's the community bracing for? As it approaches the one-year mark, what are people telling you?

PROKUPECZ: They're angry. They're angry at officials, and politicians and elected leaders because they've been trying to get some kind of gun reform, to raise the age in particular.

The gunman was 18 years old when he purchased the weapon, just days after he turned 18.


They've been trying to get legislation passed in Texas unsuccessfully for the age to be raised to 21. So they're really angry about that.

They're hoping this could be a time for them on Wednesday when we mark the one-year since this happened, that people can somehow come together.

But again, this is not a community that is united. There are some people in this community who just wish people there would move on. That's clearly not going to happen.

REID: Shimon Prokupecz, on behalf of the entire country, thank you so much for being on top of this entire story.

PROKUPECZ: Thank you.

REID: The all-new episode of "THE WHOLE STORY" with Anderson Cooper airs tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.