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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  June 25, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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here's what he told my colleague robert thomas earlier. >> our policy's never caught up with the rhetoric of repeal and replace. when the truth is, we know we have to maintain certain aspects of this law, while other parts need to go and others need reformed. i think that's been the problem. we have the bumper sticker slogan but not the policy, you know, to back it up. >> his comments come days before the senate is expected to vote on its version of the republican health bill. the congressional budget office is set to score it tomorrow. moderate republican susan collins remains undecided on whether she will vote for the bill. >> it makes absolutely no sense to eliminate federal funding for planned parenthood. there are already long-standing restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions so that's not what this debate is about. you can't take over $800 billion out of the medicaid program and not expect that it's going to
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have an impact on a rural nursing home that relies on medicaid for 70% of the cost of its patients. it's hard for me to see the bill passing this week. >> but this morning, the white house is pushing back on one of the criticisms of the bill. here's kellyanne conway, counselor to the president. >> these are not cuts to medicaid, george, this slows the rate for the future and allows governors more flexibility, with medicaid dollars. because they're closest to the people in need. medicaid's imperative. its founding was meant to help the poor, the sick, the needy. the disabled. children. some elderly. women, particularly pregnant women. we are trying to get medicaid back to its original. >> meanwhile, two leading democrats weighing in on president obama's struggles to punish russia for interfering in the election. >> the american people needed to
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know, and i didn't think it was enough to tell them after the election, but, rather, given the seriousness of this, i think the administration needed to call out russia earlier, needed to act to deter and punish russia earlier, and i think that was a very serious mistake. >> it should have made public, okay, that ent whwasn't done. i can't second guess that. i know when at that time president obama and his administration took action. i just can't understand why we don't go forward and put more sanctions. >> let's bring in democratic congressman of california, a member of the house armed services committee and also the former california insurance commissioner. welcome, congressman, always nice to see you, sir. >> good to be with you. >> so i hear you were saying the senate's bill is going to hurt american, especially the elderly, especially the children. what impact would it have on your constituents in california? >> they're terribly concerned. whether it's seniors,
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50-year-old, 60-year-old couples who have their parents in a nursing home or people that have a disabled child. they are really frightened. because it is a very real cut. kellyanne conway is the -- i guess the leader of the alternative fact. this is an 800-plus billion dollar cut over the next ten years to medicaid. for california, it will cost california to maintain the same level of services for medicaid, what we call medical in of california. it is a very mean, mean piece of legislation. this is one thing that the president has correct. the senate bill is just a replay of the house bill with a little lipstick on the pig. >> so you mentioned kellyanne conway and certainly the trump administration is committed to doing whatever they can to make sure that health care passes. here's what she said this morning.
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let's take another listen. >> the president is prepared to have a conversation and discussion and negotiation with those senators and others. we're very confident that the senate bill will get through and we're going to have health care reform that literally takes away these draconian obamacare tax, taxes on medical devices, prescription drugs. >> she says the president's willing to talk to democrats about all this. do you worry at all democrats could be missing a chance to have a say in the future of our country's health care? >> well, what i didn't miss was the most important fact about this entire charade, and that is, it is about a massive tax cut for the super wealthy and for corporations and kellyanne conway said it very, very clearly in that clip. we're talking over nearly $1 trillion. somewhere north of probably around $900 billion a year tax cut in which the top one-tenth of 1%, and this includes donald trump and his children, will
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receive at least a $7 billion a year reduction in their taxes. and that doesn't take into consideration the supposed tax reform that's coming down the pike also. this is really about the most massive shift of wealth ever in any piece of legislation in america's history. in this case, taking wealth from the poor and the middle class who have had the first opportunity in decades to have an assurance of health care, taking that money and transferring it to the wealthy in america. it is obscene. >> now, as vacates for the senate's health care bill, they keep on saying something urgent he needs to be done because obamacare is dead. look, you were california's insurance commissioner. what happens if health care reform does not pass in the near future? do things potentially get worse under obamacare? >> well, let's be understanding of what exactly is taking place. this administration, together
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with the republicans from the last budget issues, have refused to fund the essential ulmeeleme of the affordable care act, obamacare, to allow it to work. for example, there is a cross-subsization in the insurance program so those companies that wind up with really sick people are subsidized by those companies that, for maybe their marketing reasons or other reasons, wind up with healthy people. that's a very, very important way of leveling the field between the various insurance companies. that's not taking place. also money for advertising is not available from the federal government. the state of california continues to advertise and we continue to expand the roles in california. what's happening for the insurance industry is enormous uncertainty. in just three months, they have to begin to advertise their products for next year. and they have absolutely no idea what to expect.
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they cannot price. they don't know what will be covered. what won't be covered. will there be mandatory coverages of this or that? they don't know. therefore, they're pulling out of the markets, as one would expect them to do. all of that because of the chaos that's been caused by the legislation and by the trump administration. >> is there incentive for the young, for the presumably more healthy, to invest in their health insurance here? because it's my understanding the senate bill doesn't have anything that penalized them for not. >> precisely correct. there is some sort of a penalty, but you take a look at it, and a young person says, hey, i'm a young invincible, i'm not going to get sick, i'm not going to get pregnant, i'm not going to have an automobile accident. i'm an invincible. that's where they are between the ages of 20 and 30 or so. common knowledge. and so they do not sign up for insurance and, therefore, the
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risk is not properly spread. an appropriate insurance program requires that you have a broad spreading of the risk. that you have in the case of health care you have those who are sick, those who are chronically ill, those who are healthy. understanding that yes, the healthy are going to be subsidizing those who are sick. but there's not a healthy person in this nation or on this earth that doesn't stand a risk of being very, very sick the next day. and therefore insurance is critical. >> okay. let's look at the political element to all of this. so if democrats aren't involved in health care negotiations, then they won't be held accountable by voters who don't like the outcome in midterm elections. if republicans don't pass the bill, they can blame the democrats for the current health care situation and being obstructionists. is there any way to avoid this? >> well, there is, and that's to do what's good for the people of america. i cannot understand how my colleagues can vote for a piece
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of legislation that purposefully, purposefully, harms people and takes money away from those who are in the middle class and the poor and hands it to the wealthy. and to the corporations and to the insurance companies. i mean, that's unconscionable. but that's precisely what's happening here. can we survive if the program -- if this repeal doesn't pass? absolutely, we can. but it requires this administration and the congress to support the affordable care act, to provide the kind of certainty about the policy structure, to provide the kind of certainty about the relationship between those companies that have good risks and those who don't. all of those things are critically important. the market can be stabilized. but it must take the action of the administration. and i must tell you, i have very, very little optimism that the trump administration will take any action to stabilize the
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insurance market. but, rather, carry out what trump said the last couple of days, is that this thing is dying. well, he's killing it. he's killing it with the kind of actions that they are not taking. the kind of support that was built into the law is not being provided. >> yes, look, your colleague from the other side of the aisle, representative charlie dent, he was on our broadcast earlier today and he voiced his concerns about all this. i'm curious, he's done so publicly. do you have other republican electeds on capitol hill? do they come to you privately and say, hey, we've got concerns? and if they do, why can't they all be put out in the public? >> well, i think you need to look at the dynamics of where we are since the election. the republicans took control of both houses of congress for the first time in many years and the presidency. and the long-held republican goals, one of them, repeal the affordable care act, and replace
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it with something, as well as tax cuts, have been their goal forever. along with serious reductions in the role of the federal government. and they see that opportunity now to do that and they're very, very reluctant to give it up. they're very reluctant. not reluctant, they seem to be adverse or afraid to hold the president accountable for the kind of obstruction of justice that is so very obvious to anybody that cares to look at this seriously, to look at what really is going on with russia. i was -- i almost laughed this morning when trump was on saying oh, my goodness, obama didn't do enough to deal with the russians. and i'm going, excuse me, weren't you the guy who went on national television and invited the russians into the issue of the e-mails? and aren't you president right now? mr. trump? if you're president, what are you doing about it, besides
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obstructing justice and probably tampering with witnesses? >> well, we will see if he answers you, congressman, thank you so much. my next guest says the senate bill, if it passes, will be the greatest policy achievement by a gop congress in my lifetime. i'll ask avik about this next. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced. our senses awake. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say...if you love something set it free. see you around, giulia when heartburn hits fight back fast with new tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite.
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xfinity the future of awesome. the problem is if you tell insurers they can't say no to people because they're sick, but you let people wait until their sick to buy insurance, insurers will go out of business. this is not just some theoretical economic conjecture. five states tried this experiment. they tried telling insurers you can't discriminate against the sick without the mandate.
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in every single state, the insurance market collapses. >> explaining what would happen if mandates in the affordable care act were eliminated. joining me is the former policy adviser to mitt romney, rick perry and marco rubio in their campaigns. welcome back to the broadcast. it's good to see you. i want to get right out to a tweet that you released which said if it passes, it will be the single -- or the greatest policy achievement by a gop congress in my lifetime. so why do you say that? >> well, what are the flaws with obamacare that i and others have been talking about for many years, one of the biggest is that the program expanded medicaid, a program with no better health outcomes than being uninsured. they don't get access to physicians. what i and others have talked about is give them access to private insurance. in some ways, like what obamacare tried to do with the exchanges. the one that jonathan gruber helped design. that's what this bill does. it offers the people who were
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formerly on obama's medicaid expansion the opportunity to buy private insurance that's heavily subsidized through tax credits. and that way if their income goes above the poverty line or below the poverty line, they don't have to go to the exchanges and back. they're one provider net work, one group of kepts and clinics that care for them and the quality of care is a lot better as a result. >> the nuts and bolts of this whole thing, i mean, it's oversimplification for sure here, but is cutting medicaid basically the whole idea behind the bill? >> no. so, again, what this bill does is repeals or phases out the expansion of medicaid under obamacare and replaces it with a system of tax credits so those individuals can buy private insurance just like people on the obamacare exchanges can, but at lower cost, with lower premiums and lower deductibles. >> you're targeting folks that are on medicaid with tax credits. where does the line get drawn there?
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>> right, so right now, the way it works, obamacare has the medicaid expansion and tax credits you use to buy insurance on the obamacare exchanges if your income is above 138% of the federal poverty level or 1100% n some cases. area either on medicaid or exchanges. that depends on your income. under the republican proposal, you'd have tax credits to buy insurance, regardless of whether you're below or abov the poverty line. you'd be in one system. makes the system a lot simpler, more accessible, with better health outcomes. >> does this guarantee that as many people would have health insurance? >> i believe that it is number of people that will have insurance will be greater than the number of people who have health insurance today. if you look at, for example, texas, where i live. texas is a state that didn't expand medicaid. now all the people in the state who would have been eligible for medicate expansion but haven't
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gotten it because texas didn't expand medicaid will now be eligible for these 100% fully funded tax credits to buy health insurance which is actually a better outcome for them because the tax credits allow them to get better coverage. >> okay, but you're in texas. they may have, you know, it may have dwindled to a degree but a lot of states have expanded medicaid coverage. >> right, absolutely. in those states, the people who were stuck in medicate, where, again, they don't get really good access to physicians because a lot of doctors don't take medicaid, they'll now have access to a better form of coverage that allows them broader access to physicians than they have today. >> okay, i want to look at a new nbc analysis. it shows that the senate bill would not lower premiums and deductibles as the president repeatedly promised. do you think that can be fixed before it goes to a vote thursday potentially? >> there's one key thing that the senate has to fix and it's somewhat related to the segment you put in from gruber earlier. that is, since repealing the
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individual mandate, they have to put in a kind of waiting period so people can't jump in and out of the insurance market and only buy insurance when they're sick. my understanding is they're working on that. the reason why that wasn't included in the original discussion draft is because there were some technical things they had to do to get that through the senate reconciliation process. once they solved that, they'll put that in the bill. insurance companies tell me that their comfortable with the structure of this bill in terms of playing in these markets and offering coverage to people with that one provision added. >> given that you know the ins and outs of this bill, can you predict the numbers that the cbo are to put out there, how many people will be covered, what kind of costs we're looking at, how many people may lose coverage? what number's you expecting? >> i expect the cbo score of this bill to be very similar to the house bill. the cbo has a flaw in its model. it believes the vast majority, about 18 million of those 23 million who quote/unquote lost insurance under the house bill,
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that's driven by the fact the cbo believes the individual mandate is the only reason those people are buying insurance. if you don't force them to buy insurance under threat of a fine, the cbo believes 18 million people will drop out of the market. i don't believe that. most credible experts don't believe that. they think the number's more like 5 million. in reality, this bill will actually in the real world have much better effects than what the cbo will score but the cbo will score it very similar to the house bill. >> i know that you expect that young people, healthy people, will all sign up for this bill. what is their incentive to do so? because others, your critics, will say no, there's no incentive. >> yes, great question, alex, so what a lot of these critics are doing is they're either not reading the details of the bill or they know the details of the bill and they're intentionally not representing what it does. what this bill does is do enormous amount of work to incentivize young and healthy people to get into the risk pool. which as you know obamacare drove them away. obamacare doubled or tripled premiums for young people. it doubled or tripled premiums
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for healthy people. those people have dropped out of the market regardless of the individual mandate. what this bill does, a senate republican bill does, it fixes or reforms those aspects of the law so younger and healthier people have more incentive to join in. >> all right, come see me again. there's going to be a to talk about this week certainly. thank you so much. >> sure thing, alex. "time" magazine calls him the lie detector. a fascinating account of how he's conducting the russia probe, next. people would ask me in different countries that we traveled,
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isaac hou has mastered gravity defying moves to amaze his audience. great show. here you go. now he's added a new routine. making depositing a check seem so effortless. easy to use chase technology, for whatever you're trying to master. isaac, are you ready? yeah. chase. so you can. new insight into the man at the helm of the russia inquiry. robert swan mueller iii. this week, "time" magazine is calling him the lie detector. joining me is the author of that piece and "time" magazine's editor at large. david, big welcome here to you. let's get right to it because given mueller's background, what do you think he's equipped to uncover? >> anything that's out there. robert mueller, after nearly
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50-year career as a federal prosecutor, is as experienced in this work as anyone alive. he's been u.s. attorney, both on the west coast and the east coast. he's been head of the criminal division at justice. he's the longest serving fbi director since j edgar hoover. there's no aspect of any investigation that he's not up to or able to handle. >> okay, especially given this team that he's assembled here. let's take a look at the roster. it includes an expert in flipping witnesses, a financial crimes specialist, also an organized crime prosecutor. are these hires just a precaution, or do you think mueller has seen something that required their expertise? >> i'm not sure what he's seen yet, but i think they're indicative of where he might be going, or expects that the investigation might go.
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i think history will show that the president made a serious tactical blunder in the way that he handled the firing of fbi director comey. he raised the question of whether he was trying to interfere or obstruct the investigation. that's a question that then calls in to further question what are his possible motives, what's his frame of mind and in order to figure that out, i think they're going to wind up looking not only at his actions as president but at his business interactions with russian financiers or property buyers over the years. >> you mentioned history and how it will reflect on trump and comey. in fact, we found some archival video of mueller and i want to listen to his clip from the 2001 confirmation hearing to be fbi
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director. >> do you think that the director of the fbi has the authority to withhold national security information from the president, even if the president is under a criminal investigation? >> there are circumstances where the fbi is required to do very difficult investigations of individuals within an administration. official often it's as a result -- has been the result of appointment of an individual counsel in the future. it may well be as a result of the appointment of a special counsel via the attorney general and there may be owe cushions where information comes to the attention of the fbi that as director, the decision or the view is to disclose that information to a target would hamper or undercut the investigation. the decision may well be that that information should not be disclosed. >> okay, so in summary here, in
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2001, mueller was saying the fbi can withhold national security information from the president if he's under investigation. here we are in 2017. we have a president who is under investigation. and there are some considerable national security concerns. what do you make of concerns that there's no one at the top who has all the information needed to direct a coherent response to russia attack s if the president may not be fully briefed? >> i think it's a very wonderful window into the situation that we find ourselves in. this is a great big mess. and it's going to be not months but probably years in getting fully untangled. we now have the president, as you say, balancing two different roles as chief executive and as potentially, probably, a target of this investigation. we have an attorney general who's recused from the
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investigation. we have a deputy attorney general who has been threatened over twitter or criticized, i should say, not threatened, criticized by the president for his handling of this investigation, and there's no solicitor general appointed. it's a big mess. and it's unfortunate that the president's, for whatever reason, that he felt that he needed to handle it in the way that he has. >> okay. and i do want to be very clear. when we talk about the president being under investigation, that something, according to "the washington post," he has put out tweets supporting that and his attorney has walked it back. >> correct. >> thank you so much. david, good to see you. we appreciate the article as well. >> thanks for your interest. >> the battle over a new health care bill is not politics to many americans, it is personal, especially for one mother who confronted a congressman on capitol hill to make a personal
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welcome back, everyone. i'm alex witt at msnbc headquarters. the trump administration is working through the weekend to ensure the gop house bill passes the senate. a vote is expected on thursday. here's tom price, health and human services secretary, getting opponents like senator dean heller on board. >> we look forward to continuing to work with senator heller. i've had wonderful conversationings with him. we've had conversations with the governor in nevada. >> can you promise at the end of the day what the president will sign will bring premiums down for a majority of americans? >> yeah, the plan in its entirety will absolutely bring prem yums down because you increase competition, you increase choice, you allow folks to purchase the kind of coverage they want, not that the government forces them to buy. >> joining me now, paul singer,
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washington correspondent for "usa today" and kevin sirily, for bloomberg news. we're to jump in with you first, paul, here. is there a sense some republicans are going to get their armed twisted for this reason, just to repeal and replace obamacare as the gop promised in so many races? >> oh, yeah, the first thing in his health care bill is going to be slings for all the senators who had their armed twisted off. you do not want to be the last republican senator standing in the way of repealing obamacare. if you are the 49th or 50th vote they need to get this bill passed. the question will be, if there's eight or ten or twelve senators not on board, that gives everybody else wiggle room. if it's one or two, watch those senators feel enormous heat from everywhere. >> hey, kevin, what specifically do you think it's going to take for republicans to reach the votes? is there enough to bring the senators on board? >> i totally agree with paul.
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it depends on who you ask. because i think the perception amongth the grassroots conservatives now is this bill was largely crafted on the fly. it was done largely in secret. and a lot of republicans are a bit uneasy about that. people like senator rand paul, ron johnson, as well as of course senator heller, albeit for different reasons. because he's perceived as being more of a moderate. senator susan collins, senator murkowski, they take issue with this bill because it defends planned parenthood. but then the more conservative wing of the republican party think it doesn't go far enough. so it is going to be remarkable to watch the political posturing that happens following the nonpartisan congressional budget office's scoring of this. of course we're anticipating that as early as tomorrow or tuesday. >> yeah, to kevin's point, paul, he said it, is there no way to reach 50, because if you apiece the conservatives, you're going to lose some of the moderates and vice versa. >> i'm not sure anyone knows
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what we're going to be voting on. there's going to be a vote-arama later this week where dozens of amendments could be added to this bill in the cycle of minute by minute votes. who knows what we're really looking at. i don't believe there's a way to get 50 people to agree on a bill. i do believe there's a way to get 50 people to pass a bill anyway because they need to get something through the congress before they go to the fourth of july recess. >> yeah, which is being pushed pretty heavily by majority leader mcconnell, kevin. do you see it potentially playing out the way it did with the house when house speaker ryan pulled that vote the day it was supposed to happen and then they eventually passed it? >> it's like deja vu all over again. this time in the senate. look, if they're unable to get a vote by the end of this week because they're unable to get people on board or it fails like it did in the house the first time, then of course they're to try to do something. the bottom line is that republicans consistently reason on this notion for years, that they were going to repeal and replace parts of the affordable care act or obamacare. they're heading into midterms.
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they will largely upset the base of their party if they don't at least do something. on the flip side of that, as you look at these battleground state, case in point, nevada. come on, this is going to be a political bloodbath so to speak in the sense that they have to really get something done in order to move forward. >> okay, kevin, paul singer, guys, thanks for the chat. just to remind you, coming up at the top of the hour on meet the press, senators bernie sanders and ron johnson. amid the outcry about the republican health care bill, one mother's journey to capitol hill to plead for obamacare. she'll tell us why she believes basketball care saved her daughter's life.
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>> right. >> my daughter. and so i just want you to have that in your brain. when you look at this. >> and that is the reverend janice hill, pastor at first christian church in parkersburg, west virginia. was part of a group that traveled to d.c. earlier this week to talk about the health care bill with their senator, shelley moore capato. pastor hill joining me right now. with a welcome to you, ma'am. i heard you say your daughter would not be alive if it weren't for the affordable care act. can you explain that? >> well, i can. she is fully insured through her wonderful company but before the affordable care act, all which is really the patient protection and affordable care act, there were caps. and she went over the cap within seven months. she had $1.2 million in medical bills. so the cap really allowed her to continue to receive treatment that is saving her life.
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>> i was going to ask you how she's doing now. >> she's doing well. she's doing everything that she does is experimental because it's a very rare cancer. and we just are doing our best and she's a fighter and we're just hanging in there. >> all right. well, i'm glad to hear that so far. i'm curious about the rest of your inner action there with the senator. because we only saw a snippet of it. how did the meeting go? do you think she understood your concerns? >> you know, it's hard to say. i have read some comments that say she was disrespectful. she was not disrespectful. i have heard people say she obviously wasn't listening. that's not the take i got. i got that one woman was speaking to another woman and i showed her pictures. i don't know if ya'll are e shoulding the pictures. of my daughter before, during
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the treatment, the bad -- really bad part of the treatment, and then how she kind of looks now. and so she's still beautiful. but i felt like that senator capato did listen to what i had to say. now, whether it will change her vote, her opinion, i don't know. but i was so grateful for her to listen to me. >> well, i'm sure she will appreciate that. yes, indeed, ma'am, we are showing your daughter, all three of those photos. you're right, she's a beautiful girl. what happens to her, though, if congress manages to dismantle the aca? what kind of changes do you expect to see in the cost or the amount or the quality of care that she receives? >> you know, that's really hard for me to say, because as everyone know, the bill was such a secret that -- and i'm not, you know, schooled enough to understand everything about that bill. i'm afraid of what it might do.
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of what it's going to do. and not just for my daughter. obviously, she's my number one priority. but i'm also a veteran. i'm concerned about our veterans. i am also a woman. i'm concerned about what's happening to women. i am also from a state, west virginia, that is extremely poor. and we're going to have rural hospitals closing because they're dependent on people with medicaid. people are not going to get services. so while it's going to impact my daughter, in that we don't know what is going to happen, i hope she'll be able to work until she's retirement age and beyond. but we don't know that for a fact. and if she ever loses her insurance, which, really is a possibility, she's not going to be insurable. she has so many medical bills. >> you are going to congress.
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you're talking on television. you're doing everything you can. if this senate bill passes, what's your next step? >> i will be as active as i possibly can be in any way that i possibly can. to get this defeated. and if it passes, then i will do everything in my power, whatever little voice that i have, to get it changed. because it's killing people, human beings. not numbers but people. >> well, there is nothing like a mom on a mission. so you have my respect and my best wishes for your efforts and for your daughter. reverend janice hill, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. what did north korea do to
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otto warmbier? up next, the thoughts of former ambassador bill richardson, who worked for warmbier's release and even sent a delegation to north korea to try to save him. we're on to you, diabetes. time's up, insufficient prenatal care. and administrative paperwork... your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs, wipe that smile off your face. we're coming for you, too. for those who won't rest until the world is healthier, neither will we. optum. how well gets done. the toothpaste that helps new parodontax. prevent bleeding gums. if you spit blood when you brush or floss you may have gum problems and could be on the journey to much worse. help stop the journey of gum disease. try new parodontax toothpaste. ♪
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let's go now to the mystery surrounding the death of otto warmbier as the feud intensifies between u.s. and north korea. he was detained for 17 months. he suffered severe brain injury. joining me now is bill richardson, former energy secretary and new mexico governor. he has decades of experience negotiating with north korea and worked for 15 months and tried to secure the release of warmbier. it's good to have you on the broadcast. i want you to look back on your efforts to get his release. were there ever any signs that something had gone seriously wrong that he was suffering severe and life-threatening injuries? >> well, the north koreans, i
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think the easiest detection of something going wrong is they would not allow the swedish representative in north korea who represents the united states to visit otto, to see how he's doing. this is normal procedure even under a prisoner of war designation which the north koreans had given him. so you could speculate that was the initial problem. then after a year they disclosed to the state department the north koreans, that otto was in a coma. so their explanation of botulism and a sleeping pill is a cover-. something terrible happened. something that affected his brain. we don't know if it was a beating or torture. we don't know the facts directly because north korea won't disclose and from their statement recently they are not prepared to disclose. they are acting like the victim. >> you're suggesting it may have happened early on in his detention.
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>> well, i do think that right after his trial -- if you look at his trial he was very upset, otto was. it looked like he was pushed out of the courtroom. i don't have all the facts obviously. i don't know if it's a murder. i do think that there was very weak medical attention given to hill. at the very least when his condition became obvious and it's obvious he was in a coma for a year, the north koreans should have notified the swedes, the family, the u.s. government that something was wrong. they didn't do that. they are acting as victims that, oh, they did the right thing by releasing him. they have lashed out at me. they're mad at me for comments on television. but there is still a cover-up going on. they failed to disclose and that's wrong. the problem is they have three other americans under detention and one canadian. we have to be careful here. but it's not a good situation.
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>> what happened when your delegation went to pyongyang in september? >> well, my delegation went and we offered the north koreans humanitarian assistance. we offered to pay through private funds if for remains of some of our soldiers in exchange for otto. the north koreans listened but didn't tell us there was something wrong with him. they didn't tell my chief of staff mickey bergman that he was in a coma. they said we'll let you know and they never did. they were very silent. it was obvious they did the same to the state department. they didn't tell the state department about his condition. i think this is unspeakable what they have done. >> there is a "washington post" op-ed in which you write the lesson is america's hostage negotiation strategy is broken. what's the solution and how urgent do you think it is for the three americans and that
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canadian you mentioned being held in north korea? and did the obama administration exercise too much strategic patience? >> well, i think the obama administration -- i worked with them with susan rice. they pushed on otto. the problem was the north koreans saw trump winning, won the election. they didn't want to deal with the obama administration. the obama administration set up a hostage office within the state department to talk to the parents of hostages. i think that's the right thing. the main message why i said it's broken is we have to treat the hostage cases with more urgency at higher levels. i will commend the president for getting the hostage out of egypt. i think the state department did the right thing in trying to get otto oh out right away once the knew the condition. >> that was done president to president.
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that can't happen all the time when you think about the hostage in egypt. the president may have negotiated that and bravo for him if he did so. >> that's right. these initiatives on hostages start at high level and the state department needs to be engaged more. the problem with the state department is they haven't appointed a lot of assistant secretaries there, undersecretaries. they need full teams and this is why i'm concerned about the lack of appointments in the defense department, across the bureaucracy, especially at the state department where these negotiations, state has to take the lead on hostage negotiations. >> i need in 15 seconds, this is otto warmbier in negotiating. how difficult is it to find a treaty with north korea? >> well, it's going to be difficult. we have to be realistic.
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they are not going to give up nuclear weapons. maybe a moratorium on missiles but china has to help and china hasn't done enough. >> good to see you, bill. that's it for me. up next, "meet the press." i'll see you next weekend. what if technology gave us the power to turn this
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