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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 25, 2013 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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heir folks in that space. if you would like to see this report for yourself. thank you both for being on washington journal. think you for joining us. enjoy the rest of your day. lots of live events on capitol hill. enjoy your weekend. enjoy your weekend. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> later today discussion on the nsa trevelyan's programs. the meeting will focus on privacy issues and that gets underway live at noon eastern here on c-span. more from the road to the white house 2016 with ted cruz. he's speaking at the annual iowa republican party reagan dinner. you can watch a live at 8:00 p.m. tonight. a pair of profile interviews. we spoke with joe manchin and cathy mcmorris rodgers. those conversations will air starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2.
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, the yesterday's hearing ministration released figures claiming about 700,000 people have signed up so far. officials did not write down those numbers per state. will testifyer before the house ways and means committee on tuesday. check for our coverage plans. tragediesirsthand the that children face this week when they are not care for by loving parents. it was in the sheriffs's office where i first witnessed the horrors of child sex trafficking and it convinced me that we needed to do more to protect our youth at risk of abuse. >> like me and many other youth in care, we became accustomed to being isolated, much like the victims of domestic violence. by adapting to multiple moves
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from home to home, this allows us to easily adapt to when traffickers move us multiple times from hotel to hotel, city to city, and state to state. these exploiters go without fear of punishment due to the lack of attention when young people go missing. no one looks for us. i really want to make this clear. no one looks for us. >> when they hear the term child sex trafficking, most americans think it only happens in other countries or the foreign children are brought here to be sold in large cities. in fact, we have learned that most of the victims of child sex trafficking are american kids who are trafficked in small towns and large urban areas. if people were not aware of it, they are not looking for it. >> this weekend on c-span, house ways and means looks at changing foster systems to prevent sex trafficking. saturday morning at 10:00 eastern. on c-span2, spend two days in
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live at the texas book festival with panels commemorating the 50th anniversary of jfk's assassination, saturday and sunday on booktv. on c-span3's american history tv, in a country deeply divided, how the candidate lincoln resolved the political and moral dilemmas created by the issue of slavery. sunday evening at 7:30. >> the conversation on yesterday's house hearing looking at the health website and the implementation of the health-care law. pollock, you've been working on the health care issue for decades. is the aca anything like you envisioned back in the day when you were working on hillary care, etc.? guest: the key aspects of this legislation is that it is going to give an opportunity for tens of millions of people to get protections and benefits they have never had before.
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the thing most people are worried about is they're worried about if they can afford health care. this legislation provides for significant subsidies for people so that they can afford premiums and it provides important protections because as you know, insurance companies tend to deny coverage to those people who have health problems, pre- existing conditions or they charge higher premiums for those people based on their health status. the judge women a higher premium. these kinds of things are a thing of the past and the affordable care act is going to protect people against those problems. host: again, how are late it is it to what youis have been working on? is this what you wanted? guest: yes. we have today 48 million people
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who have no health insurance. that is more than the aggregate population is 24 states plus the district of columbia. that is going to change. let's make sure people are not shut out of america's healthcare system. the affordable care act is going to take us a big step towards remedying that. host: we have been talking about this issue for a long time on c- span often viewers will call in and say this is not a good plan, this is a patch of insurance -- a pay-out. we want single-payer. guest: well, i respect that opinion. there countries are on the world that have done this. in the united states we actually like competitive forces in the marketplace. this actually has some combination of features i think that a very important. most important thing is that people can now go into a market lace and there will be a variety of different health plans and
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they can select which health plan they want. this is not a government takeover. this is really using market forces. however, for the people who are poor, they can now get health because the medicaid program is supposed to be expanded. the supreme court changed that somewhat. the affordable care act said that every state should expand its medicaid program so that low income people can get coverage through medicaid, but this supreme court said we are not going to allow the federal government to require states to do this. it is now going to be a state option. half the states have now selected to do that so in those 25 states, low income people for the first time of going to have access to affordable and good health coverage. we still have about 25 states that haven't done that. my biggest concern about the affordable care act, and lots of things we probably want to talk about that are issues with the
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aca, my biggest concern about it is that in the 25 states that have not implemented the medicaid expansion, it is only the poorest of the poor who are shut out of the system. that needs to be fixed. host: mr. pollock, what about the delays on the rupture site care site and some of the issues that is facing how concerned are you? guest: everyone is concerned about that, not least of all the president and secretary of health and human services, and kathleen sebelius. it is a problem. there's no question it is a problem, you think we need to put it into perspective. there are 182 days in this first enrollment. we have now gone through about 1/8 of those days. hopefully this is going to get fixed. we have a lot of time to get this fixed and to enable people to get enrolled. one of the perspectives i urge people to think about is that
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when you have a new program, you often experience these kinds of problems. the clearest example is that in 2005 and 2006 there was a new program to enable people on medicare to get prescription drug coverage. there were wonderful public servants who were involved in the implementation of this. mike lovett was the secretary of health and human services, mark mcclellan ran the medicare and medicaid program, a terrific public servants. despite all her good and hard work, there were enormous problems with respect to the implementation of programs. the computer system didn't work well, there was a lot of confusion at pharmacies. those things ultimately get fixed after quite some time. a and now this program is very popular among senior citizens. you're going to see the same progression with respect to the affordable care act. these problems will get fixed.
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and people will get enrolled. when they start seeing that they are getting access to affordable health coverage and it is good coverage for the first time, i think this will be forgotten history. host: democrats are now starting, some democrats are starting to call for delay of the individual mandate. guest: that no doubt may get some consideration if this problem persists. i am not sure that is such a big deal. remember, in the first year, this individual mandate has a very small penalty to it i am not sure that is the biggest issue here. there are some differences in judgment as to whether it should be delayed, but i think ultimately this is going to get fixed and fixed relatively soon. i think that's not going to be as big a concern as it might otherwise be. host: our guest, ron pollack,
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families usa, the executive director. he got a law degree from new york university. when did you found families usa and what did you do prior? guest: i started with families usa in 1983. we have been around for over 30 years, actually. at i was dean of the antioch school of law and prior to that i started an organization called the food research and action center that works on hunger issues. i directed that for 10 years. host: what was your involvement with so-called hillary care? guest: i worked closely with the president and the first lady, not in an official capacity, but we supported, as we have as part of the mission of families usa, we want to offer affordable health care for everybody.
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we thought the clinton health plan would move us towards that, . we supported it, we work hard for it and we lost. host: did you have any role in the development of the affordable care act? guest: we pushed hard for it. we were strong supporters for it. we tried to provide input into the development of the legislation and as he legislation moved through different processes we provided support for it. we tried to inform people around the country about what the provisions are. we still have a lot of people in the united states, even those who could significantly benefit from the aca, were not aware of it. almost all the servers show that the people who can best benefit
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from the new subsidies that they can receive and the new protections, are unaware of that. part of our effort has been to undertake public education so that more and more people understand it and can make choices that are beneficial for the families. host: don in vallejo, california. you are first up with ron pollack of families usa. caller: hello and thank you for c-span. i have been listening all week to this controversy. it seems like the only people that are against this thing are the republicans. i really can't understand their logic. the only thing i could figure it out to be is bigotry. as far as bigotry is concerned, they need to tone that down a bit and try to think about the people that don't have health insurance. it is not just black people that don't have health insurance, it is whites and everybody else. i mean, just come together and try to get it for everybody and
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forget about this bigotry and the blacks need their reparations and they did not get their horse and buggy and mules and all this old crap. that is the only people that talk that crap is republicans. host: he is referring back to a caller that called in earlier, but if you'd like to refer to his thoughts. guest: it is not just democrats at need healthcare, it is democrats, republicans, independents. as i said, there were 48 million people in the nation right now. 48 million people who are uninsured. and so i think this is going to be helpful. if you have health insurance today, making sure others receive that health coverage is helpful to you. i do not mean this in some abstract way.
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if you have insurance and i do not and i go to the hospital because i have some kind of emergency and i cannot pay for my care, guess who's going to pay for it? people who are insured are going to pay for it. because the hospital cannot stay in business if people get care and cannot pay for it. on average, the premiums for family coverage today are increased by more than $1000 a year to pay for the cost of those who don't have health insurance. as more people receive health coverage, it will put downward pressure on the premiums that people who do have insurance have to pay. host: paul is in indianapolis. caller: i would like to make a suggestion for c-span. something you have not had discussing this issue. if you can find an actuary who understands the statistics
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behind health care but who can talk english so that normal people can understand. i think that the biggest thing we have to remember about obamacare is to ignore the actuarial science. older people use more health care resources than younger people do. women use more than men. people with existing conditions use more than those who do not. the best way to get what we need is not a more complicated system but a less complicated system. instead of obamacare -- not counting the shifting of remains --premiums that is going to happen. for those people providing coverage for people who use more resources but we are not charging them anything.
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all of those -- all of that money is coming out of somebody's pocket. host: thank you, sir. any response? guest: we do have actuaries who take a look at each of the bills that congress considers. we have that with respect to the affordable care act. the independent group that reviewed this is the congressional budget office. the congressional budget office says the affordable care act will reduce the federal deficit in the first 10 years by approximately $135 billion. in the second 10 years, it would reduce the deficit by over $1 trillion. we should always have actuaries
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take a look at this. we have had actuaries look at this. it is favorable in terms of what its impact would be on the federal budget. i hope paul and others do not feel that we should defend the current system that denies health coverage to people who need it the most. i'm not just talking about low income people but people who are sick, people who may have asthma or diabetes or high blood pressure or a history of cancer. they are the ones who have been shut out of america's health care system. insurers do not want to ensure -- insure them because they are going to make claims. that has to come to an end. host: we have an e-mail from david. guest: i appreciate david's
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comments. i think i know something about markets. markets often work within certain rules. folks in markets have only one interest and that is to get the myt from my -- best for company and that is understandable. that is how a free market system works. we have to make sure it is confined within certain rules. we want insurance companies to function. we cannot have them function where the people who need health coverage the most are excluded. we are placing some the --some limitations. host: do you think it was the right system to make people register before they could browse online?
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guest: i am not going to be able to be helpful -- i am technologically challenged. people in my office, if there is a technological issue, the last place they go to is me. i cannot second-guess what was done with respect to the technical systems of -- host: next call comes from carol from virginia. caller: i want to state that i think the aca should be repealed. i have a couple of points to make about that. i was a medical office practice manager for years. we had patients who used the hospital facilities. clearly people need health insurance. why couldn't we have done a market survey to see all the insurance companies who sell health insurance, what their are
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of thet their percentage market share is, and have the government create a high risk of people who are uninsured, just like with car insurance? we should have done something like that to cover people who have no health insurance and are suffering from pre-existing conditions who have not been able to get coverage. create a high risk pool. look at the market share as far as their health care plans and have them take the same market share of the high risk pool. as the companies continue to sell health insurance plans, their percentage of the high risk pool would continue to go up according to their percentage of plans that they cover. everybody needs health care but it needs to be an equitable
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plan. the affordable care act is not equitable. we need to have something -- that doesn't allow for exemptions. everybody needs to be under the same umbrella. this plan does not allow that. host: we will leave it there. any response to her points? guest: i thought carol made interesting point about high- risk pools. we tried that with respect to the affordable care act. there are a number of states with high risk pools. it is not the best answer. it is an answer. carol was thoughtful in terms of raising this. the reason it is not the best answer is that when you have high risk pools, the only people in that pool are people that are sick. or have chronic health conditions. and guess what that means -- it means the premiums rise enormously.
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what we have found is the high- risk pools are extraordinarily expensive. the best way for an insurance system to function is to spread the risk so you have a balanced pool, rather than isolate those people who are sick. in terms of people with pre- existing conditions, about 1/3 of people under 65 have some form of pre-existing condition. asthma or diabetes or high blood pressure. i do not think we want to put all those people in a separate pool because the premiums are going to be high. i am not exactly sure what carol meant by exemptions. by and large, this program is for people who do not have current health coverage through their workplace.
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it creates a much better individual marketplace. those people with employer sponsored coverage, unless they pay a higher amount in premiums they will not participate in this marketplace. the idea, if you have health coverage in the workplace, you can stay there. people like that. most people in the country with health coverage get it through the workplace. that is not designed to change. for those people who cannot yet -- get it and or subjected to rules like pre-existing condition exclusions or cannot afford it, they are going to get significant help. one thing i want to emphasize is that there are very substantial subsidies that will be provided for people in the middle-class and moderate income people. these subsidies extend in terms
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of eligibility to people and families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level. if you are an individual living alone, extends up to $46,000 in annual income. if you're in a family of four, extends to $92,000. the greater the help you need, the greater the help you're going to receive. these subsidies are in the thousands of dollars. this will make health coverage much more affordable. that is a key portion of that. host: this tweet for you. guest: we are not changing the whole health care system.
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for example, i get my health coverage in the workplace. that is going to continue. for most people who get health coverage, they get in the work place and that is going to continue. what the affordable care act does is focuses on those people who do not have that coverage in the workplace and are trying to pay for it on their own and often are excluded by insurers or cannot afford it. the affordable care act tries to help them. in terms of the question, how many people can or will be held is two different questions. there were 48 million people who are uninsured. of that 48 million, there are 10 million in this country and not in the country illegally. they are excluded from the affordable care act. everybody else -- 37 million
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people -- they can get help under the affordable care act. how many do get help will depend on how many people who get enrolled. it is so important that people learn about these new opportunities and that is why the computer system needs to be fixed as soon as possible. host: brenda in chester, pennsylvania. caller: hi. i had two things. my husband and i work very hard. there was a call or early that said lazy people. most of the american public are hard workers. that 1% make wrong choices. yes. we are of the middle-class. our insurance goes up twice a year to the point where he got to be more than a mortgage and we had to drop it.
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we are not sick people. there are a lot of people that are not sick but would like to get the routine checkup and things they need to do. the affordable health care will enable them to do it. even in the workplace, a lot of what you pay is a good portion of your paycheck. that makes them not able to do other things. people talk about these lazy people. i am not talking about illegal immigrants. i am talking about hard working americans that cannot afford regular checkups. our insurance goes up on your birthday and in october. by the time you have it, you are paying $800, $900 when you're not even sick. this is the volkswagen plan with the two flat tires. you cannot afford it.
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host: have you tried to buy insurance through the exchanges? caller: i am waiting for my insurance agent. i will get him to walk me through it. we are self-employed, has been -- have been for 25 years. we worked very hard. people call with the small minds and thinking everybody that does not have health care are lazy people. host: thank you very much. ron pollack. guest: brenda talks about how the costs have risen since then -- substantially. the affordable care act was passed in 2010. in a decade before that, they cost more than doubled. you can understand brenda's concern that the costs are increasingly unaffordable.
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she happens to be right, this is not a program designed for people who are -- don't work or contribute their share. there are working families who find the wages they received do not cover health insurance. they need help. that is why this reaches deeply into the middle class. they will receive significant help. take brenda's situation. if you have a major problem, a car accident or you incur some significant disease, many insurers put an annual cap and/or a lifetime cap on how much they pay out. when people need insurance the
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most, they are in a no-insurance zone. that is going to come to an end. host: clubed8 tweets in to you you can stay in your present health insurance plan unless of course your employer decides to drop coverage due to aca.guest: that is right. if your employer is providing health coverage and you do not have to pay an extraordinary amount for your own coverage in your employer's plan, then you stay in that plan. if your coverage is dropped by your employer, you'll know how this opportunity. one of the things that the affordable care act does is try to help small businesses afford health coverage. large businesses provide health coverage.
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for those with 50 to 200 workers, 94% of businesses provide coverage today. with more than 200 workers, 98% provide coverage. the small businesses do not have much bargaining power. what the affordable care act does is for the smallest businesses, those fewer than 25 workers, it provides them with an opportunity to receive subsidies to make coverage more affordable. those subsidies can be as much as 35% of a small business owner's cost. on january 1, it will will go up to as much as 50% on january 1. for the businesses with the biggest problem providing
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coverage for their workers, many can get significant help. host: kathy in iowa, please go ahead with your question or comment. caller: on his comment about medicare and the part d, the drugs part that they put into play, how much it helps out the senior citizens, he doesn't know what he is talking about for the simple reason i only have to get maybe $100 a year from prescription drugs. they had such a big window that i had to pay over $600 now for an additional ascription drug policy to cover the $100, which the insurance company paid not one red cent. that means another additional $600 a year for coverage that i
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did not need and once again the government tells me what to do. i thought we had a free country. guest: we do have a free country. you do not have to buy medicare part d. that is the prescription drug benefit. that is your choice. if somebody says is not worth it, they can decide not to purchase it. there is no penalty. what the affordable care act does is improve that coverage. one of the biggest problems with medicare part d is that after people have about $2700 in drug costs in a year, they all of a sudden fall into this big gap in coverage when they have to pay 100% of the cost. is euphemistically called a doughnut hole.
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for thousands of the next dollars, people have to pay 100% of the cost. the affordable care act changes that. it provides discount of over half the drug costs for people when they fall into this gap of coverage and over time it eliminates this gap in coverage entirely. people will no longer find themselves in an insurance policy -- we used to say you never find this in nature where you're getting coverage and getting care and then you stop getting care and you have to pay thousands of dollars. that is going to get fixed. host: nancy from north carolina, good morning to you. caller: i want to ask, make a comment. people go want about the cost of this bill, which is atrocious.
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my granddaughter will have to pay $1200 a year and they have a child. why anyone does not talk about what is in that 2800-page bill. the penalties and costs they have in the bill. it is atrocious. if it was so great, why does washington not want to take it? there is one thing i heard yesterday. if you have insurance and you have to go into the hospital and your insurance company goes out of business, you are liable for the whole hospital bill. a federal judge read this bill if you are 73 years old and you get cancer, you might as well hang it up.
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host: we appreciate that. you will get a response for nancy. guest: on not sure i understand the first set of comments. she is worried that if you buy insurance, insurance company goes out of business, all of a sudden you do not get coverage anymore. that is not going to occur anymore. if you bought insurance and your insurance company decides it wants to go out of business, you have an opportunity to get insurance from another company. the idea of the affordable care act is to create a marketplace where there are multiple insurance companies and their each competing with one another and that is good because you will get a better price and better coverage that way. if you're not being treated well by an insurer, you go to another insurer. host: can you be rejected by an insurance company?
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guest: no. that is a thing of the past. you would be denied coverage because of your health coverage. you have to fill out lots of different answers to questions about what drugs are you taking for different health conditions and did you ever have asthma? no longer is that going to happen because no longer is that relevant to whether you can buy insurance. is not simply that an insurer can no longer deny coverage if you have a pre-existing initiative. they cannot charge a higher premium based on your health status. host: rose is in ohio on our democrats line. you are on the "washington journal." caller: i am so glad to talk to you. i have some issues and the question.
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i am 85 years old. my age tells me how much i am involved in politics. we have a governor in our state and he has come forward and said he will put in the medicaid for the seniors and is the first time because he has always been against it for the last four or five months. he is also against the obama health care system. he feels sorry when he gets to the pearly gates it will be on his conscience that he will have these seniors suffer. he is going to approve -- he has approved medicaid but he has
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behind him he is trying to stop it, his party is against him. they are going to appeal it. host: what would you like ron pollack to comment on? caller: i am trying to tell them that kasich is trying to get voted in again and have all these seniors believe he's going to have it and then they will are all these appeals. host: thank you very much for calling in. your probably familiar with the ohio medicare situation. guest: governor kasich is very interesting with respect to the affordable care act. he is a critic of the affordable care act. he had his state of ohio reject running the marketplace. so the federal government is running it in ohio.
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governor kasich said it is good for people in my state to have this medicaid program expanded. he went out of his way and pushed hard to get the state to approve the expansion of medicaid. it is very controversial within his own local party. this week the governor succeeded in getting a group called the controlling board and they voted 5-2 to except the medicaid program. this is going to help hundreds of thousands of people in ohio. this is a big deal.
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there are members of the governor's party who are not happy with what the governor has done and the decision by the controlling board. they say they are going to sue the governor. they feel having the decision made by this controlling board was inappropriate and a to go to the state legislature. i hope the governor prevails on this. governor kasich is one of 10 republican governors who have said even though they do not like the affordable care act, they think the medicaid program should be expanded. people like governor brewer of arizona and governor christie of new jersey, a whole bunch of them. the reason they are making a thoughtful decision is it is not going to cost the state any money. the first three years, this is paid 100% by the federal government. after 2016, the state cakes in a
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portion but it never goes higher than 10%. in the process, the state is getting a couple of things. right now the state is paying a lot of people who are uninsured when they go to a hospital, the state pays for that. the state will be able to save that kind of money when more people get health insurance. when you have this expansion, is going to mean lots more jobs in the state. that will mean more revenues. this is a good decision for the state and a trivet decision for low-income people. host: next is jeanie in tampa on our independent line. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i have one question.
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i tried to get on the website. they wanted all of my information just to look and i exited out of it. with the subsidy, the people who'll be subsidized, do they still have a choice in which program they are going to choose? and for those that choose programs with higher deductibles so that it is a cheaper premium, if they go to a hospital and do not have the money to pay, what happens in that case? if they don't have the money to pay what is not covered under insurance. the communities are still going to pick up that tab, i suppose. i watched one of the programs. they were talking about their
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particular state and it sounded like in some states you can have counties that might have five options and some counties the my not have but two options and the cost for the same option would different counties is different. i cannot see that -- why would it not be the same cost if you're in the same state? guest: jeanie raised a whole bunch of important questions. there are four types of plans. platinum, gold, silver, and copper. they cover -- the platinum plan is different than the copper plan. the copper plan will have a lower premium but you have to pay more out-of-pocket for
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deductibles and copayments. in terms of choices, you can choose among these different varieties, copper through platinum. when you decide which tier you're interested in, there are a number of plans that you can select from. if you are receiving a subsidy, you still have choice. that choice is still not taken away from you. jeanie raised an important question. "the new york times" talked about something that jeannie raised yesterday. in some areas, you have more choices than in other areas and it is true. in the more urbanized areas, there are more choices and more plans. there are fewer such plans anymore rural areas. but there are choices.
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even in the rural areas where there are fewer choices, i think if the marketplace works as well as we think it will, more insurers will come in. host: finally, a tweet from jim. are you a single-payer advocate ?guest: single-payer is a methodology. i think maybe what he wants to know is do i support universal health coverage? do i want to see everybody in the country have health insurance coverage, and the answer is yes. that has been a key aspect of what we have been pushing for for three decades. how you achieve that is where the single-payer question comes in. should we have a thing like medicare for all and no private insurance system?
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i am more agnostic about that. what i care deeply about is to make sure that health coverage is decent and affordable and that nobody is shut out of the system. host: ron pollack of families usa has been our guest. thank you for your time. >> later today on c-span, a discussion about the nsa surveillance online. the congressional internet caucus is hosting the meeting. that is underway live at noon eastern. row to there from white house 2016 from ted cruz speaking at the iowa republican party reagan dinner. also tonight a pair of congressional profile interviews we recently talked to democratic senator joe manchin and washington state republican cathy mcmorris rodgers.
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will airversations back-to-back tonight starting at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. here is a brief look. >> it changed our family because john kennedy was making virginia a battleground. .e were catholic knowing that that would be a big -- couldhis election you break that religious barrier? i never thought there was a barrier in my town. everyone worked in the coal mines. my father and grandfather had a grocery store and furniture store. everyone made about the same money. there were no classes that i could recall i never thought religion was a problem because my methodist friends, baptist friends, we were all the same. anyway, that was a big thing. so it got me interested. i will never forget one that we and theying the news
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were talking about if john kennedy, elected, the pope would run the country. i turned to my mom and i said, i do not think they know the catholics we know. not think the republican party needs to change what it stands for, the principles and values that we believe in as republicans, that have been long-standing. but i do think the republicans have to do a better job of connecting our policy positions with how people live in the 21st century, and also using 21st century communication tools that the days of issuing a press or raising lots of money and going on tv to do television ads, that is not connecting as much. we talked earlier about social media. election, when8
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president obama was able to create this network of 13 million people in america, e- mail addresses, that was a real wake-up call to me. watch those profile interviews in their entirety tonight starting at 8:00 eastern. >> i saw firsthand the tragedies that children face when they are .ot cared for by loving parents it was in the sheriffs office that i first witnessed the horrors of child sex trafficking and it convinced me that we needed to do more to protect our youth at risk of abuse. me and many others, we become comfortable being isolated, much like the victims of domestic violence. by that guy thing to multiple
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moves, this allows us to easily adapt to when traffickers move us multiple times room hotel to hotel, city to city, and state to state. these exploiters go without fear of punishment due to the lack of attention when young people from this population go missing. no one looks for us. i want to make this clear. no one looks for us. when you hear the term child sex trafficking, most americans think that it happens in other countries or that foreign children are brought here to be sold in larger cities. in fact, we have learned most of the victims are american kids who are trafficked in small towns and large urban areas. if people are not aware of it, they are not looking for it. >> this weekend, house ways and means looks at changing foster care system to prevent sex trafficking. saturday morning at 10:00 eastern. been cheated days in austin at the texas book festival with panels commemorating the anniversary of
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jfk's assassination. tv" in acan history country deeply divided, how did lincoln resolve the moral dilemmas created by slavery? from today's washington journal, a conversation on religious views and political decisions. host: joining us from nashville is russell moore. he is the president and ceo of the ethics and liberty commission former best this convention. what does all that mean? guest: i lead an organization seeking to equip our churches to think through at the goal and social issues. how do we grapple with what the bible says and to speak in the public square in washington and places around the country on behalf of the convictions that
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we hold. host: you are relatively new in this position replacing richard land. there was a profile about you in "the wall street journal." you have recently -- is that inaccurate headline? guest: i think that is an inaccurate headline. it was missing the word "against." i am calling for a priority. i am concerned about a generation of evangelicals and many want to walk away from political engagement. they want to walk away because they have lived in a secularized society and the understand the importance of the gospel of what
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the scripture says of first importance, when the people to christ, speaking of mercy and reconciliation. many of them want to concentrate on that and not consume ourselves with politics. i am willing to say we cannot make that choice. we have to be concerned as citizens and we have to be fighting against injustice including abortion and sex trafficking and pornography. we do this with an understanding of how the gospel motivates that action. people who are like we are in need of mercy and of reconciliation and of the grace
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that comes to the blood of christ. so those things must be held together. the mission of the church as ambassadors of reconciliation and calling for justice and righteousness. is what an old theologian of the 20th century used to say. we believe in justice and justification of a god who says this is the way we should walk and a god who offers mercy and reconciliation. when we hold those together and when younger generation sees the gospel motivates us to love our neighbor and to speak but also changes the way in which we speak. we are not wishing to offend our outrage. we are wishing to say we love you and we want to see you reconciled to god.
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host: when you hear the term culture war, what does that mean to you? guest: i think it means different things to different people. if one says that culture matters and we need to stand firm and haven't ongoing conversation about what is best for our neighbors and our country, then bring on the culture wars. if someone means that we are pitted against one another as mortal enemies and we are simply in an and the shouting match with one another. i do not think culture wars all the way to go. we have a battle but not against flesh and blood but against powers in the heavenly places. we need to have a longer-term view of where we are going here. the people who disagree with us are the people we are not
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seeking to vaporize with arguments. but people we are seeking to persuade. and that ultimately we want to see embraced by the love of god and receive mercy from god. that doesn't mean we do not have spirited conversations or spirited debates. the issues at stake are significant and important. we must always be connecting those issues back to the central theme we have been given. i think the best example of that in contemporary life is in the pro-life movement. the pro-life movement, one would've thought what would the pro-life movement they, i think
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many people would have said there would not be a pro-life movement. abortion will simply be accepted in this country. the pro-life movement is as active as ever. if one goes to the march for life in washington, they were young people who are there standing for the lives of the unborn. why is that? we have a joyful message of what it means to care for our unborn neighbors and we understand that unborn children are harmed by abortion and so are women and men who have consciences that are often deeply damaged by this. there are women in crisis pregnancies who are being ministered to and all sorts of way. there is care for orphans and women who do not have anywhere else to turn.
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it is an optimistic sort of movement that is connected to the gospel and resonates with the younger generation. i think that is a good model to follow. host: dr. russell moore is alsoo a reverend. you are profiled by "the wall street journal" and we wanted to have them on to explain his response and to talk about the role of politics and religion. we will begin with a call from joseph in new york on our democrat line. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. which comes first -- whether or
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not you believe that the church is following the doctrine of the constitution of the united states or the church is following itself and not necessarily the constitution. guest: i think we believe that the church itself as the church answers to the lordship of jesus christ, that is what we originally meant by separation of church and state, which is a concept that is co-opted to me secularism. it meant the government doesn't have any business telling the church how to run the spiritual matters of the church. we believe in a free church in a free state. we do not believe the church imposes itself on the rest of society. we believe in religious liberty for everybody.
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that is not because all viewpoints are equal. we all believe there are some things that are true and some things that are false. we believe jesus christ is the truth and the light. people disagree with us in the world. we do not seek to coerce them but to persuade them to believe that. we believe the gospel is the power of god and salvation. we believe in a free marketplace of ideas in the civil square, protected by the constitution and which people come with he believes they hold and we stand together under that constitution and we seek to persuade one another about the ultimate meaning. host: you said that religious
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conservatives should not be a mascot for any applicable party. is that an accurate quote? guest: i think in every age, every group within the church must be willing to work with our political allies but also to keep a certain skeptical distance from our political allies. we are willing to work with politicians. i work with politicians every day on issues from protecting unborn human life to protecting marriage and religious liberty and human rights and stopping persecution around the world. we recognize the kingdom of god is not come through politicians and that politicians are politicians. we work with them but we do not embrace them as the messiah. regarding have a messiah -- we
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already have a messiah. we are able to work together in the public square. my forebears in this country or agitating for religious liberty. they were saying we do not trust you to tell us on religious liberty. we want it written down in the constitution. we are dealing often with people who are just short of mount rushmore. we should have a sense of cooperation but skeptical cooperation so that we know where the limits of that operation come and to be willing to work together where we can. host: attitudes towards gay marriage are changing. we have a tweet from edward.
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guest: i believe that sexuality is only to be expressed within marriage. i believe marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman for life. i think that is what the scripture teaches. i also believe that the state cannot define marriage. the state simply recognizes what marriage is. that doesn't mean we hate people who disagree with us. we do not think they are some sort of evil force out there in american society. we disagree on what marriage is. and we disagree on what sexual morality is. i think that attitudes in american culture are changing to some degree on same-sex marriages.
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the courts are changing the way they are articulate and this on same-sex marriage. i do not think when one looks at evangelical younger generations that those attitudes are changing at all. evangelical young people are more committed to a biblical understanding of marriage. that means speaking against redefinitions of marriage and addressing the divorce culture that is going on everywhere. many of them have lived through the wreckage of that. i think we need to continue to speak about what marriage is and why marriage matters. marriage isn't simply the celebration the love of an individual couple. marriage is a couple good. that is what we believe. we recognize there are people
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who are our neighbors who disagree with us on those things. we are willing to continue to love and have a conversation. but this is what we believe has been given to us in scripture and in nature. is not something we are able to redefine. host: barbara in columbus, new jersey. caller: good morning. thank you for having me. i do applaud the christian science point of view. i have an issue with them trying to force issues that they believe onto others even if it is a different religion.
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the government -- you are lobbying the government to keep abortions out of the lives of people. not everybody follows that lifestyle situation. the bible also speaks of free will. god gives us free will to do what we are going to do. i do not think it is up to the christians. a lot of people who call themselves christians are really not. they are just christian in name only and they crucify christ twice. they do not want to teach it. guest: i think the issue is that the same argument could be used in 19th century america about slavery. why impose your religious views on us? someone might have said in the 19th century.
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those who are speaking to him are saying you do not have the right to and slave another human being because you are the only one involved here. what we are saying is not that we want to impose our views on you about what we believe about religion. we believe the child in the womb is created in the image of god. this person has rights. we would say we do not believe anyone can impose upon that child the deprivation of his life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. the child is involved here. it is not fair to say pro-life people care about the child only until the child is born. that is not what is happening. i was speaking a couple of days ago to an organization devoted to actively working against abortion seeking to persuade
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women not to have abortions but also in job training in crisis. ministry to single mothers financially and in terms of child care and in helping those children as they are going forward. for women who wish to make adoption plans for their children because they cannot raise them. for women who need help. that is happening all over this country and all over the world. christian people, pro-life people, we have been criticized the we stand for unborn children in the womb. when we care for children by adopting them and ministering them to unwed mothers. they were criticized by saying you're trying to impose your religious views. you really cannot win on that.
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we believe this is part of our calling. the bible calls for us to care for widows and orphans. we care about everybody created in the image of god. we believe everybody has worth and dignity. host: bobby is in alabama on our republican line. hi, bobby. caller: i am right here. just listening to russell moore an applauding him. what an excellent spokesman we have as christians for what we believe. i am a christian roman catholic evangelical. we joined hands with fellow christian evangelicals to take on a global war on christians. there is a new book out by john
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allen on just that topic. mr. moore is covering that topic. ted cruz, the most single, heartening person in politics in 30 years. he's being pilloried and called all sorts of offensive names, ridiculed. but he is the bright spot today for all christians in america. i am hoping we get behind him and support him. host: is that something their group would have an opinion on? guest: we ought not to be ridiculing and coloring people in the public square. we need a level of civility and recognize we have multiple viewpoints in the public square. the nastiness directed toward public officials including those with whom someone might
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disagree, that is not the way we ought to operate in a civil society. host: what about the health-care law? guest: we are concerned about the affordable care act as it relates to religious liberty, deservedly as it relates to abortion and the contraceptive mandate. we have a coalition which includes roman catholics and southern baptists but also a broad coalition of people who might not ever be in the same room together or agree on anything but we agree the government ought not to impose on the consciences of people those things that they believe are against their consciences as it relates to abortion-causing drugs and contraception and other things. that's the reason you have a multi-front engagement with this.
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we are in the courts talking about this. we are in congress talking about this. we believe religious liberty is a fundamental good for all people. a government that is big enough to say we can't win over your conscience when we want to for the sake of health care is a government that is big enough to run over anybody's conscience for any reason. we believe this is of absolute importance right now. with all the threats going on right now, this mandate is a fiery rafter in a learning house in the conversation we are saying. the affordable care act is a disaster when it comes to those things. we have been working asking the administration, working with legislators in congress and standing behind those going to
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court to address that. host: in reaction to the profile i knew, brian fisher wrote -- guest: christ has not called us to be nice people. guest: christ has not called us to be nice people. christ has called us to be kind people and conviction of people who love those who are around us
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and even when we are standing up for what we believe in we are standing up for what we believe in as those who are offering redemption and reconciliation and the mercy of christ. it is necessary to stand strongly for conviction, and that is exactly what i do. i am a pro-life, homeschooling father of five who is devoted to religious liberty, combating the pornography and divorce culture in the church and outside the church, but i believe the ultimate goal that we have is not simply a more moral america. we need a more moral america. but if that is where we stopped, we end up with hell. we need a gospel where jesus christ welcomes sinners to be joined to his tribe and we need an optimistic, hopeful understanding of where the kingdom of god is coming.
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we are not losers who ought to wringing our hands and cringing in fear. we are marching to zion in a promised that jesus has given that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. that is the message that we need to be communicating. it is conviction all, it is confrontational. it is also anchored in the mercy and love of the gospel of jesus christ. host: doug is in salem, oregon. caller: good morning. you keep referring to religious liberties. i am curious as to how far that extends. do you have the same viewpoints on the koran and the other religions? more to the point -- i am real curious as to your views on spirituality versus religion.
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if i were to disagree with the preacher, i could raise my hand and question what he says. it seems that most people going into churches sit on their hands and listen to the guy and take what he says verbatim. it seems to me that you put this in a box and you want to be in that box and bring people into that box and do not allow people to have a diverse viewpoint of what you are trying to espouse. host: thank you doug. guest: i would say that you would probably think that by my asserting my truth claims, i am seeking to impose my religion on you. i think you are seeking to impose your religion on me. if what you are suggesting is that every religion is ultimately the same thing and we
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all believe the same thing, so let's be quiet about that -- that is a religious viewpoint that is not my religious viewpoint. it is not the viewpoint of met -- millions or billions of people around the world who believe that these things really do matter, what we matters -- what we believe matters. i don't want to impose my views on you. i want to have a conversation with you. i want to seek to persuade you that these things do matter. i want to have the sort of free society where i am willing and free do have a conversation about what i believe about the gospel of jesus christ. my muslim neighbor is willing and free to have a conversation about islam and the whole gamut of things. religious liberty is not about christians standing for our rights and our rights alone. religious liberty means
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religious liberty for everybody. we believe that the state has no business coercing the consciences of anyone. the church doesn't have any interest in coercing the consciences of anyone. we don't want people to be coerced into signing up for the christian faith because that would not be christianity. an old baptist preacher of the last century said that religious coercion can make hypocrites, but it cannot make believers. that is what i believe to be true. we need an open, free society in the public square. that does not mean we say all viewpoints are equally true and we ought to shut down the conversation. host: next call from marianne in massachusetts. caller: thank you for taking my call.
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i am calling from the commonwealth of massachusetts. first of all, about the affordable care act, we have had it working fine for many years now. in the beginning, or were bumps. -- there were bumps. everybody had a bit of sticker shock. now it is working fine here. i ask everybody to be patient. it is a good law. not one of my family or friends -- nobody has ever complained about it. host: is that all you have marianne? caller: i have something else. real quick. here in massachusetts, i really appreciate that our state is very tolerant of our fellow citizens. 20 years ago my daughter's first-grade teacher was married to her second grade teacher. that might come as a shock to a lot of people in the nation. i tell you what, the teachers
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were wonderful. i wouldn't change a thing. i would do it all over again. her gaydar, so to speak, did not go up. host: do you feel that reverend moore's group is intolerant? caller: i do. government is fair to all people. the government represents everybody, not just one particular point of view. host: would you like to respond? guest: we all agree that there are some limits on what marriage is. there are certain relationships that the government ought to recognize and there are other relationships that the government does not recognize. government does not license us to have friendships. government does not license us in all sorts of various relationships that we have. why does the state recognize marriage? why is this significant and important? the caller and i would have a
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disagreement about what that means. -- about what marriage is about. about the purpose of marriage. i hardly think it is intolerant for two people in a free society to disagree about something. i think intolerance would be for someone to say, since you don't represent what massachusetts believes, you shouldn't talk. that sounds intolerant to me. but i think we are in a situation where we can have a conversation in this country, we can disagree, we can seek to persuade one another about these things and i think that is where we are. host: a tweet from joe. what about some of the pope's recent pronouncements? guest: i am not sure because it seems like every time pope
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francis speaks there are 50 different interpretations of what he says. i understand that. i understand that that happens. i like pope francis. i like much of what he is doing. i like the tone. i like the sense of personal humility that he is bringing to the vatican. it is a good thing. i also think that the emphasis he is giving on the church as a hospital for broken people is something that resonates with evangelical christians. that is what we believe as well. we believe in rescuing the perishing. caring for the dying. i am not sure what the pope means on some other areas -- for instance, when he says that proselytizing is solemn nonsense . i have many catholic friends who say to me, what he means by that is moving people from one church to another. if that is what he means, that is one thing. if what he means is that there
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is not a mandate to seek -- to say to people, salvation is found in jesus christ and to press that he -- evangelistic lee, i would find that troubling. the issue for pope francis -- and this is not his fault -- is that he does not have the sort of accessibility where he can come right out and give a clarification of what he has said. i am willing to extend some charity here and to say that i think time will tell exactly what he means by that. i do think that pope francis is not wishing to depart from the fundamental dogma of the catholic church in any way. that is what all of my catholic friends tell me. i do think that he is bringing a sense of freshness and humility to the vatican, dealing with some of the problems that are there. i wish them well. obviously, i am a protestant evangelical. i don't fall under the authority of the pope or of the vatican.
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i do wish him well. i think his voice and his lace in his -- place in history are very important. i am cheering him on so far as i can. host: julius on our republican line in hollywood, florida. caller: good morning. my question is since -- we used to have the 10 commandments. somebody, the anti-10 commandments, anti-what god spoke -- to love god is his commandment. you have so much disrespect for parents and authority. the 10 commandments a honor your father and mother. there is so much disrespect now. i like that you addressed that. i think it is fit and proper
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that we encourage everybody to respect god and keep those commandments. we would have less killing because the bible says thou shalt not kill. us killing innocent babies too because people won't be killing innocent babies in abortion clinics. immorality in a marriage situation -- the main connection we must focus on is to love god and keep his commandments. [indiscernible] fear god and keep his commandments. host: thank you. guest: i think the 10 commandments are critically important. the law of god is critically important. i think what is necessary is to be able to open god in all of its fullness is the new birth -- i would like to call on all of us to be obedient to the lot
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that has been written in the heart to do things for the good of our neighbor and the good of society. all of us are lawbreakers. we need something to reconcile us to god. what that something is is not a something but if someone. it is a crucified and resurrected man who offers grace and reconciliation to those who will come to him and repent. host: when did you decide you wanted to be a baptist minister? guest: very early on. i was probably 12 years old and i started to feel the call to preach the gospel. i walked away from it for a while. after a time, the lord would not let go of that and continue to tug at my heart in that direction. host: there is a new poll out that shows that americans nation-wide that
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people who think gay marriage is a sin has dropped to 33%. it is down to one third. are you seeing people leave the church because they disagree with the baptist church on gay marriage? guest: no. what i am saying though is that there is a cultural change in america where nominal christianity is no longer able to stand. it was a time in american christianity where being a part of a church seemed to be a social good. it made you seem to be a good person. it enabled you to do better in one's career and all of those sorts of things. think about television. there was a time when television sitcoms families were shown going to church. it was always a nondescript, nondenominational church but they are going to church.
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those days are changing. the assumption that nominal christianity as being a part of a church is a good thing. christianity as being a part of a church is a good thing. what that is being replaced with is a vibrant, authentic, gospel- centered sort of christianity that does not confuse itself with just normal american life. it comes in and says, we believe in something that is truly radical. in the sense that it is startling. we believe a dead man has come back to life and that he is -- he has every right to be lord over our lives. which is one reason why you see such vibrancy on college campuses and among those in the younger generation who are embracing christ. i have seen everything else. they have lived through the ruins and the wreckage -- they have seen everything else.
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they have lived through the ruins and the wreckage and the empty promises of chasing more money. they are ready to go back to something very, very old, but also something that is very, very new. i think that is what is changing in american christianity. it is good news for the gospel in the church. host: jennifer in connecticut. caller: who do you think the messiah is? host: what you mean by that question jennifer? caller: he said he knew the messiah. i wondered who he was or she was? guest: who the messiah is? i believe the messiah is jesus of nazareth. i believe he is god incarnate. i believe he is all the promises of god and they are yes and amen in him. i believe he was crucified for sins and rates from the dead. i believe -- raised from the dead. i believe he is the ruler of all
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the cosmos. what i mean when i say that jesus is the messiah or the christ means that i would have no hope in this world -- i know who i am and i know what i am about and there is no way that i can stand before god, but hidden in christ and covered in the blood of christ i receive mercy and reconciliation before god. that is what we as christians call the gospel, the good news, that god is able to receive us and take us back as beloved children as we are found in christ. host: karen in connecticut. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i agree with some of the things that you talked about this morning. i am a born-again believer. praise god. i am so grateful for god saving my soul.
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there are a couple of things i want to say. you talked about the affordable care act. you said that it is terrible legislation. a lot of people in this country really do need good health care. i have not read all of the act. i have read things that talk about -- i have not read about the contraceptives that your group may not agree with. let's not talk about in whole terms. let's look at the things that may work for a vast majority of people. let's remind -- host: we have to leave it there. we are running out of time. that was back to health care. guest: we can't just simply say,
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let's ignore this egregious violation of religious liberty and except -- violation of religious liberty and accept everything. this has enormous implications on the religious liberty of all americans, present and future. we have to advocate for that. we also need to say that we need to work on health care policy in this country. i think everybody, conservatives and liberals, can agree on that. we need to come up with something that is just, and fair, and right. we need something that will address the real problems we have in this country. we don't need to do that in a way that is going to run over the consciences and the liberty and the freedom of the american people. host: the last call for russell moore from florida. caller: good morning. i have a question that i think a lot of religious people are concerned about abortion.
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we had three spontaneous abortions and we have three children. i worried more about whether i would have four children or five children. nobody seems to be concerned about that. the thing i am concerned about is war. i am a republican and have not voted for bush since all the wars. i think we would not have 9/11 had we not had the gulf war. to go and kill people who are alive and they have brothers and sisters and a million people went off into -- [inaudible] i believe that war is much, much worse than some young girl who makes a mistake and decides to take a morning after pill and then she may have a family later with a husband she can choose
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and not have to worry about a child that is being brought up without money, without a father. host: a law on the table. -- a lot on the table. let's get a response. guest: as a christian, i believe war is permissible only under certain very circumscribed situations laid out in scripture and in the christian tradition. we don't believe in warring against innocent people. there are some wars that would be just wars and some that would be unjust. as a christian, i would say world war ii was a war worth fighting and we fought it in a way that was honorable, fighting against the enemy and not against innocent noncombatants. when it comes to abortion, what is happening is a war against innocent, noncombatants. that is an issue -- christians
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disagree whether over a particular war is just or unjust , whether or not we ought to fight here or there. look at the debate we had recently over syira. should we go in or not? but taking the life of an innocent, noncombatant human person is just wrong. host: finally, sasha tweets in -- guest: many of our people were disillusioned with the direction that president carter was taking the country. many of them believed in him because of his personal piety, because of his church membership, because of his relationship with christ. but when they saw the direction that the country was going in his administration, it became issues of abortion, the family they saw someone who did not
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line up with what they believed. host: to take us all back to where we started, the "wall street journal" did a profile of you a couple of days ago -- what did you think of the article? was it accurate? guest: i don't think it quite captured what is going on here. it seemed to signal retreat when what we are calling for not retreat, but onward and onward with a gospel-centered focus. i understand that people on the outside often aren't able to understand that. they are not able to see what we mean when we say having a priority of the gospel and the kingdom means more engagement, not less engagement -- just a different kind of engagement and a different tone of engagement. i understand that. i also think there is human nature. even in a local congregation, when one pastor leaves and a new
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pastor comes in, what people want to know is what is different about the new guy from the old guy? it is easy to exaggerate those sorts of differences. that is human nature. host: as always, we appreciate you being on the "washington journal." guest: thank you for having me. >> coming up at about 20 minutes, we will take you live to discussion on the nsa surveillance program hosted by the congressional internet caucus advisory committee. we will also talk about privacy issues. this is from the u.k. "guardian," one of the papers that wrote the story. monitored the calls of 35 world after being given numbers by an official and another u.s. government, according to the classified document provided by whistleblower edward snowden. again, that coming up live here on the centered more from the road to the white house 2016
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with -- with texas republican senator ted cruz. you can watch that life starting 8:00 p.m. eastern. and tonight, a couple of recessional -- profile interviews, congressional profile interview speared we recently talked to west virginia democratic senator joe manchin and west virginia state republican -- washington state republican rep is amendment morris rogers. spaceman -- that is on c-span2. >> i saw firsthand the tragedies that children face when they are not cared for by loving parents. it was in the sheriff's office where i first witnessed the horrors of child sex trafficking , and it convinced me that we needed to do more to protect our youth at risk of abuse. >> like me and many other youth in care, we become accustomed to
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being isolated, much like the victims of domestic violence. by adopting from multiple moves from home to home. this allows us to easily adapt to win traffickers move us multiple times from hotel to hotel, city to city, and/or state to state. these exploiters go without -- withoutthout, punishment. no one looks for us. i really want to make this clear -- no one looks for us. >> when they hear the term child sex trafficking, most americans think that it only happens in other countries, or foreign children are brought here to be sold in large cities. in fact, we have learned that most of the victims of child sex trafficking are american kids who are trafficked in small towns and large, urban areas. if people are not aware of it, they are not looking for it. like this weekend on c-span, house ways and means looks at changing foster care systems to prevent sex trafficking,
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saturday morning attended what eastern. on c-span two, spend today's an austin live at the texas book panelsl with commemorating the 50th anniversary of jfk's associated -- assassination. and on american history tv, in a country deeply divided, how did candidate lincoln resolve the political and moral dilemmas created by the issue of slavery, sunday evening at 7:30. >> coming up at noon eastern, we take you like to the discussion on the nsa internet surveillance program. until then, from this morning's washington journal, a discussion about a study showing americans falling behind in literacy and problem solving. host: we want to introduce you to jack buckley. what is the nces? we're response will for
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trying to measure and report on all aspects of education. host: also joining our , ellen scully-russ, with george washington university. what do you teach there yo? guest: i teach adult learning. we mostly teach mid-level managers, professionals who are issued in organizational change and learning. guest: we participated in an international assessment of adult competency. literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in a digital environment that adults would need in a workplace in today's environment.
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host: how is the u.s. doing an area? guest: in all three areas, the u.s. is faring rather poorly. and why is a tough question. one thing that is different in this study compared to other studies that we have done -- certainly over the years -- whereas usually we might look at 15-year-olds or eighth- graders, here we are looking at adults across the entire range that they are in the labor market. to some extent, anything we find there is slow-moving. this reflects the fact that some of the human capital has not changed very much in recent years. why could speak to decades worth of education, within the k-12 schooling system, but also to vocational training or anything that adults did over the years. host: here is a summary of what you found. what does that mean?
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guest: in addition to reporting average scale scores, we also have international levels. between level 1 up through level 5 or 3 depending. it is the way to look at the easiest skills versus the most advanced skills. at the low proficiency levels, at the benchmarks that are not very complex skills, we have a higher percentage of adults at those levels. host: average or below average levels at top proficiency levels. a larger skill gap in u.s. than in other countries. ellen scully-russ, why? guest: i have to agree with jack. it is complicated.
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there are lots of different moving parts. we lack a very coherent system of adult education and training. lifelong learning, for example. we have a few -- we have many, many different policies out of many different agencies that are intended to provide for education training and research. we have the workforce investment act. it is not coordinated in anyway. these programs are not necessarily effective. another major issue is not just the government policy side, in terms of the programs we can deliver, but it is also the fact that employers are relatively non-engaged in the whole workforce development system.
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some employers are very, very good at developing training programs and career ladder programs within their own companies. but it is very rare that companies will take a look at the industry were take a look at the regional economy and work together with public agencies to figure out what are the skill needs, what are the educational and training resources that can be brought to bear in a cost- effective way. how is that they can allow the workers to have more flexibility in their schedules so that they could participate in these programs? we are learning a lot in this country about how to do that. there are some good examples. they are few and far between. a lot of people go to work and they don't ever really get a chance to participate in formal education and training.
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host: what is one thing -- we put the numbers up on the screen divided by ages. all four different numbers. you can go ahead and figure out which one you need to call in on. what is one thing employers would want employees who come to work to be able to do better than they do? guest: i think there are a lot of employers today because there is such a high pressure in the workplace to perform -- i think employers want employees to come job-ready. what they mean by that is what they meant by -- different than what they meant by it when we were coming up. they want people to come to the workplace and be able to pick up the job the first day and get it done. and somehow the technical fields, people might bring the job skills but they don't bring the cultural understanding. they have cut back on a lot of the orientation programs and
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they expect people to come job- ready. they are looking to the education system to provide that training and development. there is not a lot of coordination. guest: i absolutely agree. the catch phrase you hear in the states is that folks are leaving 12th grade, career ready. it means having these basic skills. host: what is a basic skill? is it being able to read and write? literacy? guest: at the fundamental, lowest levels that we assess, yes. the level 1 -- literacy, we simply asked the respondents, who asked the most votes? all they have to do is read the top. at a higher level, it is more complex than that.
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our highest level is an example in the literacy domain would be, you get return for my website that you have done a search on something more complicated than google like a lexis-nexis type of search, you have to pick out the extraneous items and tell us what you learned and what you found. it is a fairly high order -- guest: analytical skills. being able to not only read and understand, but pull out the main points, build an argument, be able to use the information know what is important, no what isn't -- use the information to do your job or innovate with it. that is what it is about. host: let's show the chart. this is the national center for education statistics. this is the result. 12 countries are higher than the u.s. in literacy. you can read this for yourself.
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not much of a difference there, is there? japan, the score, 296. the u.s., the score, 270. guest: the scale numbers do not necessarily reflect the content as they looking at the performance levels. it is a statistically significant difference, but it is fairly substantive. the average difference represents millions of americans where millions of americans are not even attaining the lowest level compared to those countries. it is a larger impact than it looks. host: what is one thing you
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would advocate to bring the u.s. level up? guest: more adult learning opportunities in formal education and on-the-job. one of the things that struck me about this report was the importance of work and people developing and maintaining their skills over their lifetime. people who are stuck in low- wage, task oriented jobs that don't require for them to bring higher level skills aren't really in a position to maintain the skill they went in with or develop it. one of the takeaways for me is the importance of really being thoughtful about how we design work to allow for people to bring skills to bear and continue to develop them. that has implications for productivity and performance which, i don't think, shows up here at all. there is argument to be made that if we think about these things for my work design
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perspective, we might be able to move the ball and little bit. we might be able to prevent the slippage. guest: there are additional analyses as part of this where you do see that relationship between these sorts of skills and productivity. it is hard to know sometimes, but it is not rocket science. i would add that we are the numbers people. we aren't supposed to provide detailed policy analysis, but i absolutely agree. i think the administration agrees that we need to work on adults where they are. we can't ignore the fact that we need to make sure more kids are graduating the school system ready for work as well. host: what is numeracy? guest: the ability to use quantitative information, numbers, in this case in the workplace environment, to be able to read and analyze and
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integrate -- host: give me an example of a tough numeracy problem. guest: tough is a little bit tougher. it is not a math assessment in that you are not doing calculus at the highest level. you may be reading a chart like this. which countries is the u.s. statistically tied with? we fare even worse in numeracy than we did in literacy, relatively. host: why? guest: the truck a lot of metrics and high-performance work places. employees have to understand what it means for their job and for their team. people who are scoring low in numeracy wouldn't be able to participate in that kind of process. not without building more basic skills. host: in this case, how would you build basic skills?
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how would you improve the basic skills? guest: number one, people need to come with a certain foundation in order to take up these things. in terms of, how is it that you help people who performed at a level lower than what you needed them to, i think it is a mix of upfront training and development , as well as some coaching on the job and helping them translate what they might be learning in a formal training or education environment into the workplace. helping them understand the relationship between the two. we need more mentoring in the workplace. apprenticeship is a great model. i think we need that model in more environments. where people who are new to the environment or don't have the basic skills are coached.
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they scaffold them into a higher level of job tasks. a lot of workplaces are not set up to do that. host: have we seen a decrease in our skill levels or an increase in the u.s. alone? do you see a difference between younger and older workers? guest: that is something that jumps out in this report that we are concerned about. the good news is that our older cohorts do tend to outperform the international average. the united states had a solid system of education before our economic competitors. when we look at the youngest cohorts, they are not only underperforming the international average, they are at a greater gap then the other age ranges. if we were just counting on generational replacement to
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increase our standing, it is not going to happen. we need to do something. host: let's get callers involved. we have divided these by age. the phone lines are divided by age. you will see them on the screen shortly. we will begin with a call from michael in massachusetts. 59 years old. caller: how are you doing? thank you for bringing that up because what happened -- hello? host: we are listening. caller: what happened in massachusetts -- two things. when you are on unemployment, no one wants to hire you when you are not performing. they have no skills after that of -- you done. if you [indiscernible] -- people who pick up your tax money.
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stuff like that. to pick up money. i been going to talk to my senator, my congressman to see what they can bring to help those folks who are over 50 and going up. as soon as you go to the computer, all they send you is to college. but those folks got a mortgage to pay. host: i think we have a lot of information there on the table. ellen scully-russ, would you like to respond to anything he had to say? guest: the amount of long-term unemployed people in this country is beginning to be disturbing. the number of older workers in that category should be of great concern.
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they are a great resource that is being underutilized. also, for many other reasons that michael mentioned in terms of the difficulties people have in readjusting at that age to losing the income expected for the next 15 to 20 years. one thing we could do is basically work with employers to educate them to the value of the older worker and what they might bring. i think there are other things we could do with people in the population group. if we want them to get retraining, we have to pay for them to make that investment. we have to have a job at the other end for them. we can work with them -- there is counseling that could be available for people to think about, maybe i can get back into where i once was, maybe my income would never get to that level again, but what is it that i can do? what is it that i can shift around in terms of?
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this is a population we know very little about. in the 1970's, we did a lot of research about displaced workers. i don't think we have done the research for this population. i think they are different people with different circumstances and we need to know more. host: a tweet -- how does outsourcing affect job skills? are we shipping jobs overseas and eliminating the jobs for a given skill set? guest: it is potentially an issue. i would add that one of the things you mentioned, the skills gap at the high level -- one of the things we see in the united states is that the gap between the skills of the unemployed and the employed is large. much larger than it is in the rest of the world. which means a lot of employers will look at that and say our skills are below


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