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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 23, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: today's deadline to sign up for health insurance under the affordable care act has been pushed back yet again, this time to tomorrow. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. judy woodruff is off. also ahead, violence and instability in south sudan and central african republic. i'll talk with u.n. ambassador samantha power, who just returned from the region. jeff brown tackles limits on surveillance with two members of a presidential task force that said the government may go too far. >> ♪ it's beginning to look a lot like christmas. ♪ >> ifill: and with christmas just around the corner, paul
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solman tackles a grinch-y question about gift-giving. does it even make economic sense? >> because i don't know what you like and what you need, i could spend $50 on you and buy something that would be worth nothing to you. >> ifill: those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> ifill: uninsured americans will get one more day to sign up for health coverage that kicks in new year's day. the obama administration today pushed back the deadline to tomorrow. officials said the move should help the website cope with a last-minute surge of users. we'll get more on the delay right after the news summary. the russian government freed two punk band musicians today who had protested against president vladimir putin. we have a report narrated by martha fairlie of "independent television news." >> 16 months in a siberian prison has not softened the defiant stands of nadezhda tolokonnikova, russia with putin she said as she walked out of the prison hospital gate. as a member of the russian punk band pusj ryeout she was jailed last year for performing this song in a moskow-- moscow cathedral,
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criticizing the orthodox church. >> today she hit out at the new am nestle law saying putin blamed us for carrying out sinnial-- cynical acts but in reality today's act is much more cynical. >> -- her pardon came hours after fellow band member maria alyokhina was freed from another prison thousands of miles away. she says they will now turn to human rights work but insists the methods they use will remain the same. the amnesty law's widely regarded as a move to improve russia's image before it hosts the winter olympics in sochi in february. the country's new leniency towards protestors is being welcomed by the european union. but they still want more change. last friday former oil tie con mikhail khodorkovsky was pardoned and freed. he spent ten years in prison after challenging putin's
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power but there is no news on the so-called arctic -- the greenpeace activists including six britons are awaiting trial after protesting over drilling for oil in the arc tk. the >> ifill: the crisis in south sudan teetered today between all-out civil war and the prospect of negotiations. a former vice president-- now leading the rebels-- said he's ready for talks if his political allies are freed. meanwhile, the u.n. and the u.s. considered sending more troops. we'll hear more about south sudan's turmoil from the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., later in the program. in syria, government forces kept up an assault in the north and casualties kept climbing. helicopters dropping barrel bombs hit a town near aleppo, where rebels have been under an intense, nine-day bombardment. a syrian human rights group says more than 300 people have died since the offensive began. from michigan to maine, several hundred thousand homes and businesses spent another cold day without electricity. a wild mix of weekend weather
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knocked out power in a broad swath of states. residents in rain-soaked areas of the midwest faced swollen rivers, inundated homes, and flooded roadways. meanwhile, repair crews in northern new york and new england raced to restore downed power lines that fell victim to freezing rain and ice-coated tree branches. >> the thing is, when they get one line repaired, now another branch is coming down, so it's just-- they're not really catching up. they're not getting any ground, you know. it's cold. we're struggling to get the sump pump kicked on, i got a generator going down there, keeping the basement unflooded. >> ifill: at least nine deaths were blamed on the various storms. a federal judge in utah refused today to block gay marriages in one of the nation's most conservative states. on friday, u.s. district judge robert shelby overturned the state ban on same-sex unions. more than 100 couples received licenses and were wed that same day, and hundreds more lined up today. the state had asked the courts to halt the marriages while it appeals the main ruling.
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on wall street, the dow jones industrial average gained 73 points to close at 16,294. the nasdaq rose 44 points to close near 4,149. the man who created the world's most popular and deadliest firearm, the a.k.-47, died today. mikhail kalashnikov was a weapons designer for the soviet union, when he invented the gun in 1947. it was rugged and simple and became the choice of soldiers, guerrillas and terrorists alike. mikhail kalashnikov was 94 years old. >> ifill: still to come on the "newshour": yet another delay for the affordable care act; members of a surveillance task force speak out on setting limits. does holiday gift-giving make economic sense? ambassador samantha power on tumult in two african hotspots. and what's next in the push for immigration reform.
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>> ifill: tonight, we get the latest on the healthcare exchanges and why the obama administration is giving people another day to sign up. the deadline for new coverage that would take effect on january first was supposed to be midnight tonight, but the administration quietly pushed it back. that decision came as white house officials announced president obama has himself signed up for a health plan. alex wayne covers health care for bloomberg news and joins us now. cries sow what is the real reason that this is being pushed back, alex. >> sure, well the web site the federal government has to sell insurance to people who need it saw more than a million visitors just today. and a lot of those visitors probably ran into the same screen i ran into when i tried it throughout the day which was basically a holding screen that said very politely, look, we have too much traffic right now. please wait until there's less traffic. and if you would give us an e-mail address we'll send you an e-mail in a few hours and you can come back when traffic subsides. they don't want these people to go away without coverage.
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they want to make sure all those people get the coverage they came to the web site expecting to sign for. so they are giving really everybody in the country another day, not just the folks who visit today. >> ifill: so as longs as you were there today and as long as you registered and signed up for this e-mail. >> way jz you are under the deadline. >> if you visited today and signed up for this e-mail you definitely will get coverage. if you wait until tomorrow to sign up, you might also still get coverage. the administration wouldn't rule out the possibility that people who show up tomorrow for the first time will have coverage starting january 1st. >> ifill: they're trying to discourage the procrastinators who might just wait until tomorrow. >> they would really like you to show up today. i would suggest anybody who needs coverage on january 1st, go to the site today just to make sure. >> ifill: so it seems like there have been a lot of delays. >> yeah. >> ifill: how many have there been. >> i was looking back at my coverage earlier today. i have written at least 9 or 10 pretty major provisions that have been delayed or extended ranging from things like the requirement that all employers provide insurance to their workers. that's delayed for a year.
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just last week they said that people who have received letters from their insurers cancelling their plans effective at the end of the year, those people will be exempt from the mandate, the requirement that you carry insurance starting in 2014. so there has been quite a few. >> ifill: now theoretically this is good for people trying to sign up late or were caught up in the glitches or bigger than glitches on the web site. but what about insurance companies. how are they taking this? because this involves changing the plans, doesn't it? >> sure, i think they're just sort of hanging on tight and waiting for the ride to end right now. they said they will do a few things the administration has asked them to do, for example, they're letting people pay late f you sign up now you don't have to pay for your plan until january 10th. with most companies and most parts of the country. but they balked at doing a few things including alawing people to sign up retroactively, say you wait until january 10th and you get sick or get in a car accident or something. they're to the going to let you sign up for coverage that is effective that day or on january 1st. >> ifill: the white house told us today that the
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president signed up for the health care exchange. why did he need to do that? >> he doesn't need to do it he's got very good health coverage through the military, actually. sow had two choice. conot sign up for a plan and be accused of staying out of the program that has come to carry his own name. or he could sign up for one and take a little teasing, maybe, that he's buying coverage that he doesn't need. so he chose to do that. he's the president of the united states. i think can take a little teasing. >> ifill: does that mean that he personally went on the web site and signed up. >> no, not at all. the president is in hawaii, on vacation, as has been reported. he had a white house staff person sign up for him. >> ifill: in person, i read somewhere. >> yeah, that's what we reported as well. >> ifill: well, tell me if you are's watching this and you are watching all of the stumbles and the stuttersteps along the way, what-- what assurance do most americans have that january 1st which was a week away, they have
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done everything right, there is actually going to be coverage. >> you should definitely call your insurer. if you signed up call your insurer and make sure your coverage is effective. if you have gotten a bill from your insurer or better yet, even, an insurance card you definitely have coverage. but if you have gotten a bill, pay that bill and then you will definitely have coverage on january 1st. if you look at this from the administration's perspective or from the perspective of their allies, it may look like a mess right now. there's a lot of negative news coverage about all these delays and extensions. from the administration's perspective, they're doing all these things because they want to do everything possible to make sure that january 1st proceeds smoothly. that people who need insurance have it. that people who need to see a doctor go to a hospital, are able to do that. he don't care too much about the controversy over these delays and extensions as long as things work out when the coverage begins. >> so that is the next deadline that you're watching. >> january 1st. that's when people will be able to start using their new insurance card. i don't expect people to
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show up at doctor's offices on new year's day but maybe at emergency room, pharmacies. and then on january 2nd people are going to start trying to use this new coverage. >> ifill: and the real test kicks in, alex wayne of bloomberg news, thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: the obama administration has released freshly declassified information on why the intelligence community began collecting phone and internet records of american citizens after the 9-11 attacks. the release came after a panel of security and privacy experts raised new questions last week about the national security agency's activities. jeffrey brown has more. >> brown: the review was commissioned by president obama after revelations by former n.s.a. contractor edward snowden. with me now are two of the five members of the panel: geoffrey stone, professor of law at the university of chicago. he's written extensively about constitutional law and civil liberties. and peter swire, professor at
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the scheller college of business at georgia tech. he served as chief counselor for privacy during the clinton administration. geoff restone let me start with you. you're not calling to end the program, but are you saying that as a general rule, the u.s. should stop collecting and storing mass mehtadata so how are we to understand that? how strong a critique is this. >> basically the critique says that there is potential value in collecting this type of information. but there are also serious potential dangers. and therefore the idea is to find a way to balance these two interests in a way that maximizes the necessary benefit. and so our conclusion is not that there should be no inquiry into the metadata but rather the data should be held by private parties, rather than than by the government, to reduce the possibilities of abuse by government. and also to provide another set of eyes on the process
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which is useful. and also we recommend that the government not be able to access the information without obtaining a judicial order, something that is now required. so the idea is more than fine-tuning, but it recognizes that the program can have value. but that ideally we should find that value in a way that minimizes the potential risks to the nation and to our fundamental lib efforts. >> to push that just a little further, peter swire, in the report you cite how at various times in u.s. history the government has abused information that it collects on citizens. do you think what's happening now amounts to an abuse? >> well, thank you. and glad to be here. in the 1970s we really saw abuse. there was a book that came out during the watergate period that was called the crimes of the intelligence agencies. and it had chapters about a lot of different agencies. i think fortunately as we did our review we dug in and did our interviews and tacked to people. we have not seen evidence of
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political targeting of people with the united states tools. so that kind of abuse of the political process that we have seen in the past, we did not find this time. and i think that's really kurting to the american people, that we've looked and dug under the covers and that's not what is happening. >> brown: let me stay with you for a minute about something that geoffrey stone just brought up. one of the key recommendations is to have the government not hold on to the data but to give it to-- to have the phone companies or third party-- third party business, i guess, hold on to it. why should americans feel any more secure going that route? >> well, i think the first thing is that i think it was a surprise to a lot of people to have basically all domestic phone calls in a data bates held for foreign intelligence reasons. and as a society we're trying to work through how do we stay safe, how do we do our foreign intelligence, our national security an live our domestic lives where the fourth amendment applies and we have our liberties. so one thing that geoffrey stone said, and a agree with,
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is we have a traditional way, we have done it with wiretaps. which is you go to the holder of the records and they hold them in the regular course of business. and then if it turns out that the government is doing things that are surprising, they go outside watt law is, somebody outside the government sees it. and so having the traditional holders of records do this is what we said really is probably the way to go. >> brown: now geoffrey stone, the report says that there was no evidence that the metadata collection has ever helped prevent a terror attack. now we've heard otherwise, really, from many american officials. but were but were you surprised by what you found or rather you what didn't fine? >> frankly, i was a bit surprised. my expectation was that we would see proof of the sort that we did see with respect to other surveillance authorities, of specific instances-- in which you could demonstrate that because of this particular intelligence method, specific terrorist attacks were thwarted.
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with respect to the 2-15 meta data program, one couldn't see that but it not to say that it is not in general useful and didn't feed into other sorts of information that was helpful. fwlu is nothing definitive of the sort that we see with men other authorities that we examine. >> brown: but that's not so-- you wouldn't expect-- you expect-- you accept the need for the program in spite of the potential for a us bos an in spite of not really seeing any evidence that it's done much. >> we think the program has a certain powerful logic to it. the idea basically is if you know or have reasonable grounds to believe that some foreign terrorist outside the united states might be contacting someone inside the united states, we would like to know that. and this program is designed to enable that. so it's a program that does have a good deal of common sense to it and we think as a fool it's not an inpresent one but it has to be fine-tuned and fine-tuned in important ways so as to assure that it gives the benefit that it can provide but without some of the costs that we think are, right now, we think are
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inappropriate. >> so peter swire, coming back to the question of oversight, did you find that the f, sa court up to now has been largely a rubber stamp in approving most of what it's been asked to do. and if that is the case, how do you strengthen it because some of your report requires even more on the f, sa court. >> the focus of our effort was on what policy should happen going forward. we were to the doing an exhaustive history. i think that by talking to people, we talked to one of the fisa judges, the department of justice with nsa and my own research, i have written on fisa for quite a long time. rubber stamp doesn't capture. if i think that the judges have clearly chastised the nsa in the past before they had as good a compliance program as they have now. but at the same time i think there's something in the fisa court we thought would be useful. one is more transparency, not having a secret court opinions as much if we can avoid it. the other thing we say is to have a public interest advocate. having somebody whose job is
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to really push and really say here's the questions and here is the worry, that is our adversary system. and we suggest ways to build that into the system so there is a stronger presentation of the privacy and civil liberty as approach. >> jeffrey-- geoffrey stone, there is so much in this report but i do want to ask you about the spying on nonamericans. because that is a big part of what you wrote about. you're also suggesting that the u.s. government has gone too far in that regard. but my reading is that you're less specific about exactly, precisely what you're calling for there. what do you think is the best approach. >> well, the basic framework of this is that there is a certain set of requirements that the united states has to abide by when it wants to, let's say, wiretap an american phone call. it needs probable cause and a warrant from a judge. in the international little am when we're delling with nonunited states persons who are outside the united states, under existing law, we allow the nsa, for example, to intercept those phone calls if it has
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reasonable grounds to believe that the phone call was carrying information relevant to international terrorism, or cyberwarfare or nuclear proliferation. so it's not probable cause, it's reasonable grounds to believe which is somewhat different. and there's not a judicial warrant requirement. there is after the fact review. basically what we recommend in addition to that is that the certain specific requirements, that the government never use this program exaccept for purposes of national security. that it never used this program on the basis of the political beliefs of religious convictions of any person. that the united states not disseminate any information obtained through these processes, even with respect to nonunited states persons, unless the information is directly relevant to legitimate foreign intelligence purposes. we also extend the privacy act to non-u.s. persons. and we suggest that there should be a high level review of any kind of
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foreign intelligence activities with respect to the leaders of foreign nations. so we make some significant recommendations that don't bring the same standards to non-u.s. persons who are outside the united states that we use for u.s. persons. but we basically say we think these are important human right pros tex and we encourage all nations to join us in enforcing them. >> brown: okay, a lot to this. but we will leave it there for now. and keep watching, geoffrey stone, peter swire, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: two shopping days left 'til christmas and now paul solman tells us maybe gift giving is not all it's cracked up to be. paul's alternate-- perhaps grinch-like-- view is part of his continuing coverage "making sense" of financial news. ♪ it's beginning to look a
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lot like countries ma ♪ ♪ everywhere you go ♪. >> reporter: the mall outside minneapolis, setting for our annual holiday shopping story. but this year it's not about consumer confidence or retail profits, or the old reliable crass commercialization of christmas. this year we bring you the dismal science of economics at its grinchiest. >> we're spending $70 billion a year in the u.s., and probably twice that much around the world, yet much of that spending says university of minnesota economist joel waldfoggle is pure waste. >> are we in the u.s. getting $70 billion worth of satz fraction out of the items that we're choosing for others. my answer is no. >> reporter: he is the author of scrooge-enomics, why you shouldn't buy present force the holidays. the reason, he says, is because of a decidedly unfestive economic principles which he named in
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a now famous academic paper 21 years ago. >> what is the dead weight loss of christmas. >> well, the dead weight loss of christmas is just the waste that arises from people making choice force other peoplement normally i will only buy myself something that costs $50 if it's worth at least $50 to me. when i go out and spend $50 on you, though, since i don't know you what like and what you need, i could spend $50 on you and buy something that would be worth nothing to you. >> reporter: now a less than perfect gift isn't the total loss. the recipient's satisfaction equals some fraction of what you spent. and if you bought it at discount, maybe more than awe spent. but seriously, who among us would choose the mall's twerking sweat bands over $30 in cash. the genuine badger head gear made of a genuine badger head instead of the $150 it costs? or even some of these t-shirts over a crisp $20.
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>> mack miller incredibly dope since '92, do you know what that means? >> i don't. i guess i'm not incredibly dope. >> reporter: nor we should be clear is waltfoggle a dop who opposes all gift-giving. he actually endorses gifts, so long as you think you really know the recipient's tastes. or she tells you, as his own wife does. >> sometimes she drops hints, same with my children. but with people who are more distant from me i feel very uncomfortable choosing items for them. >> but wait, if even you give gifts then doesn't that sort of underwine your theory. >> not necessarily. first of all i'm not against spending. i'm just against spending that doesn't produce the recommended amount of satisfaction. >> to a psychologist economic fundamentalists like waltfoggle miss the whole point of gift-giving. >> when we give gifts is really not an economic transfer, it is friendship. if i want to you care about
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me, how much am i willing to sacrifice in terms of economic efficiency. and the truth is i'm willing to sacrifice a lot. >> but economics is premised on the rational max miization of satisfaction. isn't it irrational to buy a badger hat for $150 when even university of wisconsin zealots or francis the kid's book badger fan was prefer the actual money. >> so if you had this system in which everybody was perfectly rational, everybody was mr. spok from star trek, geoffing money would have been a better solution. but if you are an economist in the world of normal human beings, and you go to dinner parties and you offered people cash, you're going to be treated very badly. >> why? >> because it would basically imply prostitution. when you give a gift to somebody you are basically are hiding the economic nature of the transaction. you pay the store, the store gives you something, you give them this something.
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you lose money in the exchange but it doesn't look as direct money for favors or for loyalty or something like that. >> but it's maintaining a myth. >> absolutely it is a myth, because the reality is that a lot of relationship, even marriage has a lot of financial underpinnings to it. but we do a lot of work to try and hide it because if we didn't hide it love without not be able to flourish. >> a colleague of joel waltfoggles but as a behavioral economist, he sides with arieli. >> we don't know what others like and dislikes, we don't know our own likes and dislikes. >> my basement, my attic are full of things that i bought with good money, thoughtfully, i thought, and i discovered that i don't like this. >> so you are suggesting there is a considerable dead weight loss potential every time we go shopping even for ourselves. >> yeah, but with
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gift-giving sometimes you give a gift that costs you $10 but the recipient will value it at $12 because maybe the thing itself is worth $8 to them, but they get $4 of warm sentiment. >> reporter: but wait a second, behavioralists, the world seems to be coming around to waltfoggle's position in the form of gift cards. >> as this point gift cards accounts for a third of holiday gift-giving so they are immensely popular an from the standpoint of economic theory, they are like giving cash. >> even though 10% of gift cards don't even get redeemed. what's more, over half of all consumers in a recent survey said they prefer general purpose gift cards issued by credit card companies to cards that are store specific. but that's just a short step from cash. so why not give the even more convenient green stuff itself, we asked the
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anti-santa. >> it's really socially awkward to give cash. older people can give it to younger people, grandparents to their grandchildren and so forth. it's a very awkward gift between say significant others but gift cards avoid all thisiciness. >> right says dan. it's just because money isicky, impersonal, objectifying that he disapproves of giving gift cards or even wanting them. >> when people ask for a gift certificate, they're basic undermining the friendship. whatever gift they're going to get in this way is to the going to help their friendship. >> so what do you give people. >> i try to give people gifts that they want but feel guilty about buying for themselve. i also want a gift to remind a person of me. so if i buy them something i want them to use it from time to time, and to keep on thinking about me. >> fancy pens, for example. or and we love this one. >> head phones, good,
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expensive things that people keep on using, and feel guilty about buying for themselve, and by the way, i am feeling really guilty about buying a porsche, if you are's interested. >> in other words, leaving the porsche for another story, his key to gift-giving is just what your parents told you, it's the thought and the thinking that counts. isn't that right, we asked dead weight waltfoggle,. >> sure, he said but -- >> people are spending a lot of money, buying things that are not valuable as items to their recipients. what i would love to see, i would love to see gift cards that default to charity after 24 months. those would preserve spending but more importantly from my standpoint they would insurance that the spending produces some important kind of satisfaction for some ultimate recipient. >> and with that joel left to us buy, and we're not making this up, the oven hits his wife had hinted she wanted for christmas.
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>> she didn't want those oven hits. you can read more about what you can do as an alternative to buying wasteful gifts. thattee on making sense. for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the united states undocumented, 2013 was supposed to be their year. the president called passing comprehensive reform a top priority. and republicans and democrats it in the senate came together in june to pass a bill, only to watch it die in the house. meanwhile the president is face pressure from his own party to stop deportation. though that number could be down slightly this year, all told 1.9 million people have been deported since
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mr. obama took office. that is almost as high as president george w. bush's eight year total. we look at the big picture now with mark hugo lopez, he's director of hispanic research at the pew research center. and the head of immigration works usa, a federation of small-business owners, angela maria kelley, vice president of immigration policy at the left leaning center for american progress. and jessica vaughn, director of policy studies for the right leaning center for immigration studies. and welcome to you all. to the new shour. >> thank you. >> angela kelley let me start with you, what was 2013 like for undocumented immigrants in this country. >> so the senate advanced the ball considerably down the field by passing this bill with such a resounding yes given that you had so much republican and democratic support. the valley i would say though for the undocumented are the number of deportations, which are
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intense. and the separation of families and the ongoing fear that communities live . and the undocumented don't live in one apartment building all by themselves. we're talking about this affecting 60 million americans who live with someone who is undocumented. so it is an issue that is an important one. and i think will be resolved in the next year. >> woodruff: let's talk about that jessica vaughn, how would you describe 2013 for undocumented immigrants in this country? >> well, i think they were filled with a lot of expectations that there could be legislation passing that would allow them to be legalized in this country. but ultimately since that legislation really overreached tremendously, it hit a road block in the house of representatives, which is looking for a way to reform immigration policies that's going to meet the needs of americans
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here in terms of making sure that they have enough economic opportunity, that the wages are not suppressed, and that the laws that are in place and that congress is thinking about passing are actually going to be enforced because the message that's been sent by ot bama administration to people who are living here illegally is that their home free once they get in because through executive action, the administration has basically said that 90% of them are going to be immune from enforcement. so that's a very powerful intend difficult for people to stay and for more people to try to come and that in fact is what we're seeing and hearing from the border. >> woodruff: given all that, tamm ara, remind us what was in that senate legislation that passed. where does it stand right now. >> it's what's been in every reform bill that's been talked about for the past five years,ed three main pillars, one is an answer for the-- senate would give
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a-- for citizenship, you have to pay back taxes and work and go through security check and get in line to be a citizen, get to in in about year 13 for most people. there is a toughen forcement on the border, much tougher, tougher enforcement in the workplace, every person trying to get a job would have to go through the e verify system and then there would be programs for high skilled and low skilled to come legally in the future. >> woodruff: well, given that picture of where things stand right now, mark lopez, you at pew have done, you're studying opinion on immigration all the time. but you have just done a new study which has some really interesting results in terms of what all americans think and what the undocumented think. tell us about you what found. >> so we just conducted two surveys. one of hispanics and one of asian americans, the two largest groups in the country. what we found is when we asked what is most important for undocumented immigrants, about half of latinos and
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49% of asian americans say the deportation rather than a pathway to citizenship is most important for that population, the undocumented immigrant population. i think that on specific policy, proposals that have been proposed in congress, there is broad support among his pan esks and asian americans and also the general public for things like a pathway to citizenship, for example. >> woodruff: kel -- angela,. >> i answer to both. >> woodruff: let me some back to you, give then picture of where the immigrants themselves stand what they are thinking right now, what do you see needs to happen in the house of representatives? >> sure. i mean look, the house is clearly circling around the issue and trying to figure out the republican leadership what to do. the committees, the judiciary committee homeland security committee has passed a number of small bills. there's a lot of talk about other bills that they want to introduce include one that would help undocumented youth look the drome act you have seen talked about in the past some think they're
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trying to hone in on how big, how small do they move in immigration bill, that will happen republican support, and have to have some democratting support. and that's, you know, the secret recipe for that i don't think they have landed on yetment but it's not a matter of a lack of will. i'm convinced that the republican leadership and i think a majority of republicans would support a legallization program. they may not also put a pathway to citizenship but i think look, we're really closing in as far as i'm concerned on some of the last plays that will get us in the end zone. >> let me turn tos we have ca vaughn, how do you see the state of play in the house of representatives right now. >> well, it's going to be very, very tough because you have on the one hand the nancy pelosi, the top democrat in the house saying things like just because someone is here illegally should not be reason for deportation. and the republicans on the other side very concerned about the executive actions that the obama
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administration has taken to suppress enforcement, and concerned about the number of new immigrants that would be allowed under the gang of eight plan. >> woodruff: a particular plan that was put forward. >> right, that's the senate bill that passed. and concern about what can be done to deter people from trying to come in the first place. and to shrink the size of the illegal population now living in the country. so those are going to be really hard concerns to reconcile into certainly one big piece of legislation. they would like to move slowly and make sure that enforcement measures are in place and working before moving on to some of these other questions. >> woodruff: tamara, given-- i mean angela is saying the ground is ready for movement. we hear jessica saying no, there are going to be problems. how do you see this getting resolved. >> i side more with andie. i work closely with
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republicans in the house and i see more and more willingness and more and more readiness to do this, among leadership which is obviously key but also among the rank and file. ode numbers who have been hesitant to go near it in the past, more and more of them understand we need to be part of the solution on this. we need to get it behind us. for the good of the country and good of the party. and i hear them talking about what angie referred to which say path not to citizenship, they are hesitant to go that par but a path to what we just heard marco say immigrant support which is a path to legal status. >> woodruff: all right, and jessica vaughn, if that's what they are working on, how are the republicans right now who are opposed to a path to citizenship going to respond? >> well, i have to disagree. i done think the sticking point is really this question of whether or not to give citizenship to people who are legalized. the question for republicans is how can we do better at enforcement so that we are
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not going to be facing this same problem before. how can we avoid the mistakes of the past which did legallization first followed by promises of enforcement. they want to see that the laws that we have are being seriously enforced and not just at the border as ot bama administration is doing but also in the interior of the country. and they want to examine our economic needs for things like guesswork or programmers, whether or not we need to tinker with the legal immigration flow. without disadvantaging americans who are affected by this kind of legislation. >> well, mark, you're hearing what the different guests are saying happened in the house. what would the reaction be in the community of those who are undocumented, their family members and supporters, and among the broader american public if any one of these scenarios takes place. i mean if there is an agreement that falls short of comprehensive reform, what kind of reaction are we
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looking at. >> among the general public we found broad support among republicans and democrats for some form of legallization. the undocumented should be allowed it to live in the u.s. legally. those numbers are 70% or higher for republicans and even higher for democrats. where there are some differences, though, is in what jessica was just referring to, that is a need for among republicans saying, the need for border enforcement first before legallization for the undocumented. while democrats are more willing to say yes, we can work on improving border enforcement but at the same time we can grant legal stat to us those who are here illegally. so there is support for legallization, the path to getting there is some what different. >> woodruff: do you seeing an la kelley this getting-- you started out sounding optimistic. >> i am still there. >> woodruff: but we're also hearing what some of the complications are given that how do you see this circle being squared or square being circle. >> look, i think the genius is frankly in the senate
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bill that passed. which includes a lot of border enforcement as tamara so correctly, a tough interior enforcement program of e verify, all employers would have to follow and everybody would have to prove that they are here legal to work. and it also deals sensibly with the 11 million. you know looking it's a long road, that people get put on, that they have to keep their nose clean, follow the rules and eventually they can naturalize and become citizens and swear their allegiance to this country. i think that is a good thing. but look, i think there is a sweet spot to be found. and it's long overdue. >> woodruff: all right, very, very quickly, jessica vaughn, in just a word f something comes out of this that looks like that, what do you think happens in the house of representatives? >> i think people need to get their expectations down because anything that does pass is going to be very much smaller in scale.
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>> the house is to the going to pass the senate bill. the house is not going to pass a path to citizenship. the house is going to pass, if they pass something, a path to legal status and it is to the going to be easy to pass. and jessica is write it will have to have tough border security up front and house members are worried about having to go to a conference with a senate bill and what comes back looks a lot more like the senate bill than what they passed and then they have to vote up or down. but i still think with all the difficulty, i'm with angeion optimism. >> woodruff: i hear you all four, thank you, tamara, angela, jessica and mark. >> thank youness. >> thank you. >> we mr. plan stock turn to the situation in south sudan but the united nations security council was holding an emergency session tonight to consider waying to deal with the unrest there, the secretary snen moon asked
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the counsel toil increase the 7,000 strong u.n. peacekeeping anything the country by 5500 troops and police. u.s. ambassador to the united nations samantha power is at the emergency meeting and will be unable to appear on tonight's program. we hope to reschedule her soon. but finally tonight we have one of the signature pieces from the newshour weekend program. we're featuring them this holiday season this report is by newshour correspondent megyn popson. >> caverol from minnesota was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. for part of the year she paid more than $400 a month out of pocket for her brand-name drug because of her insurance plans high deductible. a couple years later after the drug called letrozol went generic the price dropped dramatically to around $10 at her local costco. always looking for an even better deal she decided to ask another big chain about its retail price. >> the gentleman looked up and he came back to me with
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a price of around $400. and i said to him, oh, can't be. you must be looking at the brand-name drug, it can't be that expensive. >> but there was no mistake. one store quoted a price 40 times more than the other. how could that be? especially when generic drugs are commonly thought to be so inexpensive. >> i was shocked. i was confused. i thought what am i missing, you know this doesn't compute. >> thompson who had never been a consumer activist said she felt compelled to try to figure this out. >> i started just on my own to phone some other pharmacies, in the twin cities here. >> last june she made another round of calls like she did more than a year prior. and what she found was that nothing had changed. wildly varying prices for her generic breast cancer drug. >> how i can help you. >> i would like to find out what the retail price is for a 30 day supply of a generic drug called letrozol.
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>> $11.04ness. >> 29.88. >> had 9. >> 346-- 364. >> i didn't realize it was that much, it's $435. >> $455. >> it didn't seem fair and it seemed to me especially egregious when it involved a lifesaving cancer drug. it just up set me. >> her discovery wasn't just alarming for her t was also very personal for me. because carol thompson is my mom. we used her story because what we thought might just be a fluke turned out to be part of a much larger problem that few are aware of. wildly different retail prices not just for my mom's cancer drug but many other generics too. >> what we found was absolutely shocking. >> lisa gill is the editor for prescription drug coverage at consumer reports. last spring she lead a survey of more than 200 pharmacies around the country asking the retail prices of five blockbuster drugs that had recently gone
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generic. the study found the cost of a month's supply of generic plavix, a blood thinner ranged from $15 at costco and $12 at a on-line store all the way up to 10 to 15 times more at target and cvs. it was similar for generic lipitor used to control cholesterol. prices range from $15 to $17, up to around nine times more at the other national chains. >> it was unprecedented for us. we had never found this kind of variation in a drug pricing study before. >> gill says while many stores offer older more common generic drugs for just a few dollars it's the prices for the newer generics that vary so much. and gill says they discovered something else in their survey that surprised them. >> you actually can't get the lowest price until you ask. >> can you do any better on the price. >> yeah, we certainly do price matches. >> okay. >> indeed after my mom tried that strategy, target which had one of the highest prices of $455 said it would match the price at other
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pharmacies. >> we would just need the other pharmacy's information so we can contact them to verify the price. >> okay, good. >> and remember others quoted the drug for as little as $11. >> so you're saying the customer's essential have to walk into a pharmacy and bargain with their pharmacist. >> that's right. it's worse than buying a car because at least when are you buying a car there is a sticker on the winnow and you know there is a price are you going to try to work down from. in this case you don't have anything. >> gill says it's rare for someone to even think of calling around like my mom did. since most consumers have no idea prices can vary so much. and that could lead to the uninsured or people with inadequate drug coverage overpaying by hundreds of dollars. or skipping medications all together. >> and she told me the price, i was like i can't get it. you know, put it back on the shelf. >> in 2008 liss an duncan moved from indiana home to minnesota to be near her aging father. but she had no job and no insurance to pay for the prescriptions to treat her
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bipolar disorder. she had attempted suicide twice before her doctors in indiana had found the right mix of medications to stabilize her. she had paid a low insurance copay for one of her generics. but now she says her local big name chain in minnesota quoted her an out of pocket price of more than $100 for a month's supply. a price a single mother of four could not afford. >> it was very scary. i thought i don't want to go back to the way i was. but i can't afford it i don't have the money, you know. >> a pharmacist at a community clinic for low income patients in minneapolis suggested she try costco. duncan says it quoted her a price of around $15 for the month's supply compared to the $100 charge at the other store. >> and i said are you looking up the right medication because that is just sounded off the wall. and she said oh yeah, you know. >> a phone call for pricing and the same person will call back within minutes thinking that there has been
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an error in the pricing because they've been quoted such high prices elsewhere. >> jesse lane say pharmacist at costco. it turns out the low cost chain allows nonmembers to use its pharmacies, which consistently had some of the lowest prices on generic drugs. he says unlike some other chains, cost coprices its drugs by adding a small markup to the wholesale price it pays just like every other product on its shelves. blane has worked at other chains which he says take a different approach. >> a lot of times what other chains will do, they'll take price from the brand medication and they'll just decrease that by a certain percentage and give that as their price for the generic. >> costco wouldn't tell us the wholesale price it paid for my mom's cancer drugs. >> when would you need those. >> but another pharmacist told us what he paid. he owns schneider drug, one of just a few small independently owned pharmacies left in the twin cities. though smaller independents all quoted my mom some of the lowest prices for her
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breast cancer generic, something that surprised her. >> it's not intuitive, really, that a corner drugstore, an independent small independent retailer would have some of the best prices. >> at many large chains, prices are set at the corporate level, according to representatives we spoke to. >> $14. >> but he decides on his own what dhooring. $14 tore my mom's drug. he just adds a small markup to the wholesale price can buy it for. anywhere from around $7 to $28. >> and also my pricing is based on the person i'm talking to. you know, because if they need something, it is my responsibility to provide that to them. i'm not losing any money. >> he guesses that big chains which buy in larger volume can probably get even better wholesale prices than he can. and he bristles when he hears some quoted my mom a price of more than $400 when he is charging just $14. >> how could you justify that. you know. if you had any moreality, to
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make money like that, what is this? this is-- we have to ask, you know, what's happening, what is the moral compass. >> we asked the national association of chain drugstore force an interview but the group declined saying it couldn't comment on the pricing practices of its members. >> but in a statement e-mailed to the newshour the group said instances of customers paying the full retail price for a drug use nothing insurance account for only 8.5% of prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies nationwide. and there are many factors involved in product pricing. costs at the exact time when the drugs were purchased from the supplier, the law of supply and demand, decisions related to business models and other factors are some of the components that determine drug prices. we also ask target why it would charge $450-- $455 for my mom's cancer drug if it would apparently be willing to match the much lower price of $11. in an e-mailed statement
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target didn't answer the question directly. only saying factors that impact prices include a guest insurance plan, price changes from manufacturers, and the guest deductible. and in response to the consumer report survey last spring, cvs which had some of the highest prices said in a statement, a random price check of only $5 drugs is too small to draw meaningful conclusions about which pharmacies offer the best overall value for customers. >> so in the face of all this, how could you find the best prices for generic drug no federal agency keeps track of the retail prices and state resources are limited. so others have stepped in. new web sites to help consumers compare drug prices have launched including goodrx co-founded by doug hersch, a former employee at facebook and yahoo!. he came up with his own idea for a start-up after he spent time uninsured and found wildly different price force his generic drugs. >> i thought this is really inefficient, you know.
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i use orbits for look up my airlines, why is it so difficult for someone to know the cost of their prescription drug. >> goodrx aggregates drug prises from products across the u.s. and matches them with discount, coupon, clubs and other plans that hirsch says many consumers don't foe about. >> there are all sorts of different discounts this is an on-line pharmacy this say coupon price at kmart. >> goodrx launched last year and the information is in demand. hirsch says the web site now gets almost a million visits a month. it's the type of information my mom who today has medicare and a low deductible for prescriptions hopes people will pay attention to. >> i would say let the buyer beway. shop around, be thorough, do your homework >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: the obama administration delayed the deadline for uninsured americans to get health coverage, by one day until tomorrow.
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the leader of rebels in south sudan calls for peace talks, while the u.n. secretary-general called for another 5,500 peacekeepers to be deployed there. and the syrian military kept up fierce attackes on rebels in aleppo. this evening, the white house condemned the week-old assault and said more than 300 people were killed this past weekend-- many of them children. saving for college can be a daunting task, but a growing number of universities are offering fixed-rate tuition. that guarantees a student will pay the same amount for four years. and it might just catch on. read more about this on our homepage. and everything you wanted to know about social security. our online guru explains how you can suspend your benefits and restart them at a higher rate. that's on making sense. you can find that and more is on our website and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at why the monarch butterfly is
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samantha powers will join us to discuss the deteriorating situation in south sudan and african republic. i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the "pbs newshour," thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world.
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more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh this is bbc world news america.
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funding this have presentation made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own giving up a profits to charity in pursuing the years good for over 30 and union bank.
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this is bbc world news america. washington, i'm nick. a civil war as the army prepares lawn much major attack on rebels. members of the russian punk band released from prison but they say ate nothing putin and unt from reaching goals after losing three limbs in afghan stafpblt running, biking and driving a few years after his injuries.


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