HHS Secretary Price: Goal is to make health care accessible to all

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This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," July 16, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good Sunday morning everybody, I'm Maria Bartiromo, thanks for joining us. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures." The next two weeks are critical for a health care vote and today new developments. Senator John McCain undergoes surgery forcing the Republican leadership to delay the vote on its revamped health bill this week. Will this make it easier or harder to get passed in the next two to three weeks? Health Secretary Dr. Tom Price will join me ahead.

Plus, we are now learning that at least eight people attended the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russia lawyer. Who were they? What could this mean for the administration? I'll talk to President Trump's former Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski about that.

Plus at least two Republican lawmakers demanding investigations into whether former FBI Director Jim Comey broke the law by putting classified information in memos he then leaked to the press. A former U.S. Attorney who once worked with Comey, Bud Cummins is here. We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing he will delay consideration of the Republican health care bill while Arizona Senator John McCain recovers from surgery. Doctors are advising McCain to stay at his home in Arizona this upcoming week, after removing a blood clot above his left eye on (AUDION GAP) Secretary of Health and (AUDIO GAP) Dr. Tom Price. Dr. Price, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.

TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Hey, Maria, good to be with you again. Thank you so much.

BARTIROMO: Your reaction to this new setback?

PRICE: Well, our thoughts and prayers go out to Senator McCain and to his family. Never was there a fighter like John McCain so I have great confidence that he will come through this with flying colors, but we wish him the very, very best and I respect to Senator McConnell's decision to delay any vote on this for at least a week.

BARTIROMO: I want to ask you what your thoughts are on the bill in its current form right now, and certainly from a patient's perspective, you are just back from the National Governor's Association Meeting, the annual meeting there.

PRICE: That's right.

BARTIROMO: Where you spoke with a number of Governors. What did they have to say about this new idea, this latest installment in the bill to give more power to the states?

PRICE: Well, what their concerns are obviously and what our concerns are is to make certain that every single American has access to the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their families. And the bill has changed significantly so that - we believe that there is significant opportunity for that goal to be accomplished. The governors want flexibility. They want to make certain that variable to design their Medicaid program as they see fit for their Population. But they also want to make certain that the resources are there to be able ---to cover that vulnerable population.

And one of the interesting things that's in this bill that wasn't in previous iterations is the opportunity to make certain that those folks that actually fell into a gap below 100 percent of the poverty level but above where a state might put - allow individuals on the Medicaid system, that hole was not covered before. This bill provides for coverage for those individuals through the tax credit process, and that's something that's new. That also is one of the reasons that we believe we're going to be able to cover more individuals on this bill than are currently covered. I know that's counterintuitive to folks who have been reading other headlines but the goal is to get every single American covered and have access to the kind of coverage you want.

BARTIROMO: Well, you're right. I mean, with the CBO scoring basically suggesting that more than 20 million people get pushed off of getting insurance. People are saying well, how is that possible? But the truth is that would be a choice, right? Because in this scenario, when the Senators will remove all of the taxes and the fees for not having insurance, people may choose to just not take the insurance because they know they won't get fined for it. So it is not actually just getting cut off but it's more that people will choose not to have insurance. That's a very important point.

PRICE: Oh, it is an important point and it's also CBO's opinion. The fact of the matter is that individuals who choose not to have the kind of coverage that CBO and the previous administration thought was the only kind of coverage that individuals ought to have, if they select something else, for example, if they select an HSA, a health savings account with a high deductible catastrophic plan, that doesn't count in CBO's formula. So CBO doesn't even capture those individuals who say to the federal government, I don't want the plan that you think I need, I want the plan that I know I need for myself and for my family. So those numbers are so flawed in terms of what actually happens in the real world when people act for themselves in an appropriate way and get that kind of coverage that they want.

BARTIROMO: You know, it is pretty incredible when you look at the health care system in America versus elsewhere. You know all you have to really do is what's taking - do is look at what's taking place overseas with Charlie Gard. The European Court of Human Rights effectively handed Gard a death sentence on June 27th when it ruled the terminally ill baby - terminally ill baby should be pulled off of life support. His parents obviously want to see if there's some experimental way to keep him alive by taking him to the United States but when you look at what's going on there, that is a perfect example of how government will tell you what's best for you and your family, versus having all options on the table.

PRICE: Yes. Maria, this is so incredibly important. In my previous life, I was a physician. I was an orthopedic surgeon, spent over 20 years taking care of patients. And often times, the most irritated and angry I ever saw patients is when they knew that somebody else was making a decision about what kind of treatment they could get. I would recommend something, their insurance company or the federal government or the state governments would say no, we can't do that or we won't allow that and that's not the way the system ought to work. The real question that we ought to be asking is who decides? Who ought to decide what kind of care, what kind of coverage, what kind of opportunity you may have? Should it be the federal government or should it be you and your family? And we come down on the line of you and your family.

BARTIROMO: And we should point out that the President actually tweeted out, we would love to help baby Charlie Gard. Britain's high court apparently will hear the case on Monday, in light of new claims of evidence from the Vatican's children hospital that maybe their further treatment is unjustified, however, maybe not. So we'll be - we'll be watching that story because it's such an important example to point out. Dr. Price, I want to ask you about the pushback on this health care bill because the truth is, you can give us a really good perspective in terms of what's in this bill and does it address the big issues that are important to patients today?

When you consider the fact that two of the nation's largest health insurance groups sent a letter to Leader McConnell on Friday, criticizing the inclusion of a conservative provision in the revised GOP health care bill. This is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, joining health insurance plans, the nation's largest healthcare lobbying group in slamming this revised GOP health care bill, saying that their criticism on the consumer freedom option, which allows insurance providers to offer less comprehensive cheaper plans that do not meet the ObamaCare requirements as long as they offer at least one ObamaCare compliance option. What's your take on this? I know you had a lot of conversations about this when you were with the governors as well.

PRICE: We did indeed. And it gets again to that question of who decides? Who decides what constitutes appropriate coverage? Should it be the federal government, should it be insurance companies, or should it be patients? We believe it ought to be patients. And I'm really - it boggles the mind to see the insurance companies objecting to the opportunity to be able to have people, real people across this country select the kind of coverage that they want instead of what the government forces them to buy. And this is, in fact, the kind of risk pooling mechanism that has been used for decades. This is nothing new.

The fact that the federal government came in eight years ago, seven years ago and said this is what you have to purchase, that's what we're trying to get away from, because when the government says this is what you have to purchase, of necessity, it is - it doesn't include or may include more than you want or doesn't include what you want. So what we want is patients and families and doctors to be making these decisions. Not the federal government, not insurance companies. The system that we have right now may work for insurance companies, may work for the federal government, but it's not working for patients. And that's where the key is.

BARTIROMO: But do you worry that there are still things in this bill that were some of the big problematic issues that were in the Affordable Care Act, like the two taxes, that the Senators say they're going to keep in there, the investment tax 3.8 percent, as well as the payroll tax. I mean, do you worry that this is ObamaCare light as Senator Rand Paul has said?

PRICE: No, because I know that what ObamaCare included was a - was a penalty for individuals if they didn't purchase coverage. In fact, 6.5 million Americans across this country paid over $3 billion for the right not to purchase what the federal government told them they had to have. I worry about the current system that makes it so that 40 percent of the counties only have one choice in terms of an insurance coverage policy for them. That's ObamaCare and that's what we're going to get away from. And again, the governors told us what they needed was flexibility. That's what the bill provides. And listen, we really sincerely believe that this is an opportunity to move in the direction of a better health care plan, a better health care system than we currently have where 20 million individuals across this country currently don't have coverage. We want more individuals covered, not fewer.

BARTIROMO: Yes. Do you think they're going to be able to get this done, Dr. Price?

PRICE: Well, I do because the Senators know that what's out there right now isn't working. In terms of the Medicaid system, you've got a third of the physicians in this country who ought to be caring for Medicaid patients who aren't. That's not because they've forgotten how to take care of those patients, it's because of the system. Again, that may work for government, may work for insurance, but it is not working for patients. So what the Senators know is that in their state, you talk about Nevada, 14 of the 17 counties aren't going to have a single insurance company providing coverage if this current system holds. That's not a system that works for the Nevada citizen and the Governor of Nevada knows that. For other states where we're seeing significant decreases in insurance companies providing coverage, that doesn't work for their citizens. And so, what they're going to be telling their Senators is you've got to make certain that you fix this that you make it so that we have got a system that works for patients and families and docs.

[10:10:30] BARTIROMO: All right, we will be watching the developments, Sir. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.

PRICE: Thank you, Maria. Have a great day.

BARTIROMO: And to you Dr. Price. Thank you. We are also going to be speaking with Senator Lindsey Graham coming up in the program to find out why he says that insurance part of it is critical. Plus why Senator Rand Paul is a no. That's all coming up in the program. But just ahead, Comey's memos, did the former FBI Director break the law and leak classified information? At least two lawmakers say they're going to find out. You can follow me on Twitter @mariabartiromo, @sundayfutures. Let us know what you would like to hear from Bud Cummins, he's on the offset of this break as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. At least two Republican Lawmakers are reportedly pushing for investigations into whether former FBI Director James Comey broke the law and leaked classified information in his memos leaked to the press. Watch.


REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO: Jim Comey testified a few weeks ago under oath that at the direction of the United States Attorney General, he, the FBI Director, misled the American people when he called the Clinton investigation a matter. We should be having hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on that very subject asking him some key questions. We learned this week that James Comey put classified information in some of these memos. Maybe that's - maybe there's some reason why he found he wasn't going to prosecute Secretary Clinton because he was doing the same thing.


BARTIROMO: Now, the Hill reported last week that more than half of Comey's memos about his meetings with President Trump contained classified information. Let's bring in Bud Cummins right now, a former U.S. Attorney in Arkansas who worked with Comey and is now a partner at Avenue Strategies. Sir, it's good to see you again. Thanks so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: What do you think? Breaking the law here?

CUMMINS: Well, if he put classified information in the memos and leaked them, then he broke the law, at least technically. I don't want to get too far out on this because to be honest with you, I'm skeptical of this story. I really - I think Jim Comey made a lot of unfortunate decisions, starting with the Loretta Lynch plane trip and going forward, but I have a little trouble believing that he did this without further proof.

BARTIROMO: Yes. Look, I think that, you know, he obviously was dealt a tough hand. His boss was very clear in terms of wanting to suppress this investigation. She told him to call it a matter, and he did that. I mean, he did mislead the American people by calling it a matter, no?

CUMMINS: Oh, he did and he had -

BARTIROMO: It was a criminal investigation.

CUMMINS: She was interfering. She created a massive appearance of impropriety by meeting with Bill Clinton. And what Jim Comey did, and I don't think he intended to make a mistake, but he made some unfortunate decisions to try to cure all those things from his seat at the FBI, and it resulted in probably a justified termination and a change at FBI.

BARTIROMO: So do you think we will see an investigation here? Should we see an investigation on whether or not he did, in fact, break the law by passing that information on to the press? And he admitted it right there in the hearing, yes, I wanted to affect change. He wanted a Special Prosecutor.

CUMMINS: Yes, and I think that that was wrong. It's part of this cascade of events that's led us into all these investigations into an allegation that has no evidence underneath it, this idea of Russian collusion. I think that's real unfortunate. I think somebody should look at the memos, and it's really a pretty quick determination. They're well trained at determining what classified information is and isn't. And somebody can take a look at that, somebody should. But I'm not ready to accuse Jim Comey of releasing classified information without evidence. You know, this whole story about allegations of subversion and treason without regard for evidence. And that is if you look in Wikipedia the definition of McCarthyism. So, we really got to slow down and try to not put so much fire behind these investigations where there's really no evidence that a crime or something wrong's been committed.

BARTIROMO: Meanwhile, we continue to see leaks coming out of the White House. Let's talk about that for a moment because Representative Ron DeSantis says that the House Oversight Committee is bringing in big names to investigate the leaks. And people want to know if Ben Rhodes is one of those people who has been questioned, the former National Security Advisor to President Obama. Is he calling his - you know, former colleagues who are currently working at the White House, Obama holdouts and leaking information? Is he helping to leak things? What do you think about the leaks coming out of the White House in the Intelligence Community? How do you stop it?

CUMMINS: Well, you know, I think you do investigate that. And I would like to see a firmer hand at the White House. And I think you have to do what you need to do to stop that because national security is in play and our - and our credibility around the world. The President's made some wonderful successful trips around - to foreign nations lately, most recently France. We're doing good things in the Middle East. We're having successes there, but we can't succeed if people are playing politics in every aspect of this. And that's serious business, national security.

BARTIROMO: Yes, but the point is - I mean, it's not stopping. And it feels like there's a real undermining going on from the intelligence community to this President.

CUMMINS: That's correct. And I think that that is happening, and that should be investigated. As opposed to Russian collusion which there's no evidence of. I think we ought to look at the things that we know happen and try to find out why they happen and who caused them to happen, you know, and you can go back and look at a number of things that really haven't been looked at very hard that we know happened. But to date, we don't know that any collusion happened in regard to the Russian interference in our election.

BARTIROMO: That's absolutely right. Is there any - is there anything unnerving for you in terms of this Don Jr. meeting?

CUMMINS: No, not really. I mean, you know, I sat with my partners. We collectively probably have about 150, 200 years of political legal campaign experience, and I don't even think there's a consensus about whether they should have taken the meeting. Although a lot of people say if they would have been more experienced they'd probably wouldn't have taken the meeting. But there's nothing in the e-mail that describes the meeting that says they are going to hear about illegally obtained evidence. For all they knew, they were going to find - they were going to present them legally obtained documents with some serious misdeeds of their opponent. It's part of a campaign. You listen and you move on. But it really is a big nothing. The meeting is nothing, it's kind of circular. Nothing happened at the meeting. They say we're in the context of this Russian investigation. You say well there's no evidence of the Russian investigation. They say, well, the meeting, the meeting.

[10:20:28] BARTIROMO: Right.

CUMMINS: So, you know, I don't know, the American people really need to speak up and say cut our taxes, secure our borders, lower our health care costs and stop this nonsense.

BARTIROMO: Exactly what Jamie Dimon said on Friday, execute the agenda that America voted for in November.

CUMMINS: Yes. Great job.

BARTIROMO: Bud, it's good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

CUMMINS: Thank you. Good to see you.

BARTIROMO: Bud Cummins there. So, is it a smoking gun or overblown as the fallout continues from Donald Trump Jr.'s e-mails? We'll talk with the President's former Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski on the other side of this break. We're looking ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" right now.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. We are now learning at least 8 people were in the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last year including a former Soviet Intelligence Officer. Lawmakers are now calling on the President's son to testify in front of Congress about this. But are his e- mails actually a smoking gun for collusion or is this all being blown out of proportion? Want to bring in Corey Lewandowski President Trump's former Campaign Manager. Corey, good to see you, Sir, thanks so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: Your reaction?

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, my reaction is very simple. How did - how did these e- mails get out? The team put them out. Donald Trump Jr. put all the e- mails out in full transparency to show everything that has taken place. And so what we have right now is a story about nothing. What we have in June of 2016, two full months before our own intelligence agencies notified the Obama administration that Russia may be potentially trying to impact the election, is a friend, a producer, a personality who knew Donald Trump Jr. said can you take a meeting with a friend of mine? And he said yes. That's all this was. The meeting was very short. Nothing came of it. And now we're moving on.

BARTIROMO: Why did Loretta Lynch approve a Special VISA for this woman to come to the country? She was denied a VISA just month earlier.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, because look, clearly there was no concern from the Obama administration about any types of ties, and don't forget, this woman is a Russian born individual who is a private attorney. She doesn't work for the Russian government. Never was part of the Russian government during the meeting. And it was very simple, all this information was disclosed by the individuals from the Trump team as required by law voluntarily on their forms. So you know, I don't understand why we're still talking about a meeting with a couple private citizens that's been disclosed properly that had no information that came from it, that lasted a few minutes and there's been no follow-up. There's been no coordination. There's been no collusion. There's been no cooperation.

And look, let me just say this, Maria, let me be clear, if the Russians were going to hack the U.S. election system, the spies, the great spies of Russia, Vladimir Putin the former head of the KGB, is he going to reach out to some television or movie producer or talent, put it in a public e-mail system and then bring as many people as humanly possible to a meeting in Trump Tower? Give me a break. There's eight, ten people whatever it is. This is how the Russian government works? I don't think so.

BARTIROMO: Right. I only ask because - the question about the VISA - because even if you go to this woman's Facebook page, it looks like she's more in the Democrat camp than she is in the Republican. She's got signs there free Melania, you know, anti-Donald Trump commentary on her Facebook page, so I mean, the idea that she was trying to help Donald Jr. but in fact, she's got all this negative stuff about his father is just a head scratcher there. But let's talk about whether or not this is going to be used as a piece of, you know, smoking gun for the left to bring Donald Trump Jr. into testimony and explain all of this. I mean, obviously when you're in a campaign, if somebody tells you I've got damaging information about your opponent, you're going to say OK, yes, I'll listen.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, not just that. Look, you have to remember, every person from the Trump team, from Jared Kushner all the way down has said that they are willing to voluntarily go in and talk to the individuals who want to have a conversation, whether that's the House members, the Senate members, the Special Counsel, whatever it is. They've been open. They've been honest. They have been available. But what the Democrats want to do is they want to try this in the court of public opinion because the Members of the House Intelligence Committee Republicans and Democrats, the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans and Democrats, have all said there is no evidence of coordination, collusion, or cooperation, but that's not the narrative that the Democrats want. They want to try this in the court of public opinion and what the - what the Trump team has said is we'll give you all the information. They provided all the information. And if there's an investigation, they're going to cooperate. So I don't understand what the question is here.

BARTIROMO: Yes, you know, I'm wondering if the voters are going to hold the left accountable, come 2018, when you have got the Congressional races, come to 2020 when you've got another Presidential election because the American people voted for an agenda, and this entire first six months, all we've talked about is potential collusion with Russia, nonsense as Jamie Dimon told his shareholders the other day, he's sick and tired of the stupid stuff, and yet the agenda is sitting there not going anywhere. People want to see tax reform. They want to see health care reform.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, they do, but you have to remember. Since Donald Trump has been elected president, the stock market is up 17 percent. There's $4 trillion in new value because of his reduction of government burden and government regulations on these small businesses. He's going to get his tax reform plan done, the largest tax cut in the history of our country. It's going to provide middle-class tax relief. He's going to make sure that health care is more affordable, repeal and replace ObamaCare, build a wall on the southern border. These are the campaign promises that Donald Trump has campaigned on. And look, Maria, nobody is even talking about the fantastic trip he had as Commander-in-Chief this week over in France honoring those individuals on Bastille Day. It was an amazing trip. He charmed the President of France. They had a great relationship. It's amazing that nobody wants to talk about it because it doesn't fit the left's narrative.

BARTIROMO: Well, it certainly seems like his foreign policy and these trips that he's taken whether it be in Europe this past week or in the Mid- East two weeks ago have been a real success. If anything, the foreign policy part of things has really been more successful than the domestic agenda so we'll be watching both sides. Corey, thank you -

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, that's exactly right. Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Corey, good to see you. Thanks so much. Corey Lewandowski joining us there. We'll take a break, when we come back, the GOP health care bill in jeopardy. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says he has the best plan. That's next. We're going to talk with him in about that and get his reaction to Rand Paul who explains to us why he was a no from the get-go. We're looking ahead right now on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES. Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: Big week ahead. Senate Republicans are releasing a new draft of their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The revamped version keeps some ObamaCare taxes in place. It adds funding for the poor as well as money to combat the opioid epidemic. But Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy say that they have a better idea. They've introduced an alternative plan, aimed at winning bipartisan support. Senator Lindsey Graham joins us right now to talk more about that. Senator, it's good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Good morning.

BARTIROMO: How do you think this plan - go through your plan, tell us what's important and why you think that will gain bipartisan support so that you can get this bill to President's desk.

GRAHAM: There you go. Well, all the money that we were going to be spending in Washington, we block granted the states is pretty simple. We leave the taxes in place, except for the individual mandate and the employer mandate and the medical device tax which hurts innovation, we take all that money and we send it back to the states and tell them you devise a plan for South Carolina and California. If you want to go ObamaCare route, you can, if you want to do something different, you can. But we're going to let the people closest to the patient decide how to spend the money and get this stuff out of Washington. To me, that makes a lot of sense. Give it to the Governors and say, you can't spend it on roads or bridges, spend it on health care. Good luck.

[10:35:16] BARTIROMO: Yes. I think that does make a lot of good sense. But Senator, the fact is as you've colleagues on the right, Republicans rolling their eyes saying why are we leaving any taxes in place that are currently in the Affordable Care Act? I want to play you a little clip of my interview with Senator Rand Paul and get your reaction to it because Senator Paul basically says look I'm a no vote on this.

GRAHAM: Right.

BARTIROMO: And the reason is because it looks a lot like the Affordable Care Act. Here it is. Watch this.


SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Well, we have to decide, is it the government's role to subsidize insurance and insurance companies? I don't think insurance companies should get a penny of our money. I mean they make $15 billion a year in the group market. They segregate a very small part of the insurance market. They whine. They come to Washington and say we need money, we want to help everybody but the taxpayer has to pay us to help everybody. So it's a false sense magnanimity that sort of says, we're going to help everybody but in reality, what the insurance company wants a big bailout. And I'm not for bailing out any U.S. industry. I love American companies, I love American companies that make profit but I'm not forgiving them any money because that's simply crony capitalism.

BARTIROMO: But is there a bigger issue here, Senator, the fact that you have a big agenda that you need to execute, that the American people voted for in November. They want to see repeal and replace but then they also want to see tax reform. If you hold up the progress in terms of getting a bill out, getting a bill to the President's desk, do you jeopardize getting the rest of the agenda done?

PAUL: I think there's a possibility that Republicans will shoot themselves in the foot by passing something that actually doesn't fix ObamaCare. So, I think actually I'm not advocating nothing but nothing would be better than this bill because the death spiral of ObamaCare is based on one fundamental flaw, and that is that you can buy insurance after you're sick and that we have these regulations that make insurance expensive so young healthy people can't buy it. That death spiral leads to adverse selection and the rising premiums in the individual marketplace, that will continue under the Republican plan. They will simply subsidize the death spiral. That's what this stabilization fund does.

The Republicans are acknowledging the death spiral of ObamaCare will continue and they are going to subsidize it. There's nothing Republican about that, there's nothing conservative about that and I won't be part of that. If they want to take their nonsense, their big government spending programs, their throw the kitchen sink at everything and put it another bill and work with Democrats on that and tell conservatives we will have a clean repeal, I'll vote for any variation of a clean repeal. I want 100 percent, but I will vote 50 percent, 75 percent, but I'm not voting to create new entitlements for insurance companies.


BARTIROMO: So what about that, Senator Graham? Doesn't this plan keep in some of those entitlements and certainly the taxes?

GRAHAM: Right. So here's what I would say to Rand. He's a libertarian. I respect him very, very much. ObamaCare was designed to lead to single payer health care. They were going to make it so expensive for employers that they would drop coverage on their employees. They would go into state exchanges that were going to fail to be taken over by the federal government. We've got one last chance to stop single payer health care. So with all due respect to Senator Paul, we better come up with a plan that saves the private sector. The government is very involved in health care. It's called Medicare. It's called Medicaid. I've got one simple go with my colleagues, is to save the private sector option for people who were - make too much for Medicaid and are not 65 to keep competition alive and well in the private sector. I'm not going to bail out insurance companies because that won't solve the problem.

Senator Cruz's amendment will allow people to buy policies beyond the ObamaCare policy. We're creating more choice, we're repealing the individual mandate, the employer mandate, which are the heart and soul of ObamaCare. So this proposed by Mitch McConnell is not like ObamaCare. My proposal is the ultimate Republican solution in this regard. We believe those closest to the patient should have the money and the decision-making authority. We believe that our governors and our statehouse can do a better job than a Washington bureaucrat. I don't mind putting money into health care to help people who are struggling. I just want the decisions to be made in their backyard, not in Washington. That's why I like my idea so much.

BARTIROMO: You and your colleagues are trying to slow down the growth of Medicaid.


BARTIROMO: Walk us through what has occurred in this entitlement program. Most people, you know, when you hear from the left, they say, they are cutting Medicaid. You know, people will die.

GRAHAM: Right, right.

BARTIROMO: Our children will die.

GRAHAM: Right, right.

BARTIROMO: And you know, I don't think people fully understand what this program has become, Senator.

GRAHAM: OK. So here's where we're headed. Medicaid and Medicare are two federal government-run programs. By 2042, Maria, all the money that will be collected in taxes throughout the country will go to support Medicare and Medicaid. There'll be no money for the Department of Defense or Department of Education. Why, because these programs are growing so fast. In 1997, the balanced budget agreement between Bill Clinton and Republican Congress, what did we do to balance the budget? We slowed the growth rate of Medicare a small amount. Barack Obama negotiating with John Boehner about a big deal said that Medicaid and Medicare growth is unsustainable.


GRAHAM: We're going to come up with a way to slow the growth. So there's a lot of games to be played in Medicaid. I want to keep Medicaid in place for the poor.


GRAHAM: I want to give more flexibility to the governors, one size does not fit all. I want an inflation rate for Medicaid that's more sustainable, that's not a result of games. So Democrats when they propose slowing the growth rate down for Medicaid and Medicare, it is good government, when a Republican proposes it, we're trying to kill people.

BARTIROMO: Right, right.

GRAHAM: It is a game being played up here, and I'll tell everybody listening that if we don't reform Medicare and Medicaid, they are going to collapse and take the whole country with them.

BARTIROMO: All right. Thank you so much, Lindsey Graham for joining us there. So when will this Senate bill reach the President's desk given this latest setback due to McCain's health? Our political panel is on deck next after this short break. We are looking ahead to a critical two weeks right now on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES. Back in a minute.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. A temporary setback again for the Republican health care plan, a key vote to advance the bill now delayed while Republican Senator John McCain recovers from surgery in Arizona. Without McCain, Republicans likely would not have enough votes to advance this legislation. Let's bring in our panel to talk about it. Ed Rollins is a former White House Advisor to President Reagan and a Fox News Contributor. James Freeman is here. He's the Assistant Editor of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and we are thrilled to have you both here. Good to see you guys.


BARTIROMO: Your thoughts on this latest development.

ROLLINS: You know, it's do-or-die and obviously the McCain absence is very, very critical. The Republicans have to get this to the floor. If they get this to the floor, they can negotiate a little bit and they have at least 50/50 chance of getting it passed. If they don't get to it the floor, obviously there's no swap and it could be killed very easily. The time is against them. This is a tragic setback and unfortunately, John McCain is a very important player. I think, out of respect, someone ought to give him a vote and put it through but they are not going to do that. So, I would say at this point in time, the longer it gets delayed the more difficult it becomes and you saw the Governors this week that are pretty anti it, so it's a pretty tough uphill battle.

BARTIROMO: And that means it's an uphill battle for the entire agenda, James. I mean, what about tax reform?

JAMES FREEMAN, WALL STREET JOURNAL ASSISTANT EDITOR: Yes, I think you could still do tax reform if it fails. Obviously, it becomes tougher. But I think the Republicans will do the health care reform.

BARTIROMO: You do. So that's in the next two or three weeks?

FREEMAN: Yes, and I think this pause may give them a moment to reflect and say why have we accepted the Obama premise that the test of American healthcare is how many people we can jam into a government program? ObamaCare was enacted in 2010 for the first time in a long time U.S. life expectancy went down last year. This is not making us healthier. Medicaid does not make people healthier. This should not be the goal. A lot of evidence that it's worse than private insurance and some evidence, it's worse than not having insurance at all. So, I'm hoping they think about some of the questions you've been raising with Tom Price. You know, what about the patient? What's best for the patient? And that's free markets.

BARTIROMO: Well, he seemed to feel that the bill in its current form does address the issues that are most important to patients today.

ROLLINS: Price was excellent. I thought he ought to be out there every day basically being the seller of this. No one else is being the seller of it. He's very effective having been a doctor as Chairman of Budget - both the Budget and Health Committee. And I would have him out every day making his points. The problem is it's not been being sold. And I think to a certain extent, if there's any deficiency in this White House, it's been the communication shop. And obviously, they have a lot of other things distracting them. There's nothing more important in the next two or three weeks than this.

BARTIROMO: You are right, the messaging is so critical.

FREEMAN: Right, so, Dr. Price can speak to the medical aspect. I think, you also have to talk about the financial aspect. Everyone's pointing the CBO is saying, it shows flaws in the bill. Well, when CBO is not analyzing this, they spend the rest of their time telling us how this program is totally unsustainable. They're projecting 100 trillion in deficits over the next 30 years. We've got debt as a percentage of GDP at World War II levels. They say it is going to double. So, this is not healthy for anyone if we have programs that we cannot pay for. And I think maybe that will be a focus over the next week, let's hope.

BARTIROMO: Which is why I keep bringing up to these folks, characterize what happened to Medicaid. You know, let's take a look at this, the fastest-growing entitlement program out there because the truth is, is that it's a very, you know, good narrative for the left, for the critics to say look at all these people that are not going to be in Medicaid anymore. These are poor people. Well, in fact, that's not true because this program has expanded to include working individuals, able and working men.

ROLLINS: It was - it was a political brilliance to how they put this together. It was a political document not just a health care document. And obviously, they have - they have the talking points. We have to counter that with the facts and the reality is that when we talk about you are taking care of the rich and not taking care of the poor -


ROLLINS: - you know, it's a very telling argument. It's not a truthful argument, but it is a very telling argument and Democrats obviously thought about this from a political perspective. They spent a long time putting this bill together and we have to change it.

BARTIROMO: Which is why the messaging is so important, which is what you said, Jim. Real quick, you have optimism here. You think the Republicans are going to get it together in the next three weeks. So you think - let me - they had seven years James to come up with a replacement plan.

FREEMAN: Right, yes, this is what the plan is. And you could say it could be better, but there's a lot of good stuff in here in terms of finally beginning a reform of entitlement spending on the one hand and also what is it that people hate about ObamaCare? It costs too much and it dictates everything from Washington. They didn't get to keep their plan, they didn't get to keep their doctor. This is the beginning of a reform where the customer gets to make choices again.

BARTIROMO: All right. So, you think it happens and then you think tax reform gets done as well then.

FREEMAN: Yes why not? Sure. Yes.

BARTIROMO: Really. Come on James, I'm counting on your optimism here. Do you really believe that?

FREEMAN: I do. And I understand you don't think the corporate rate on tax reform will get all the way down to 15 percent, but I think -

BARTIROMO: They're going to have to give on something, right? So that's my prediction.

FREEMAN: But I think they are going to get a low rate, that's going to be good for growth. And I think they understand they need something to sell next year. They need a good economy to sell in November -

ROLLINS: I've argued our problem from the beginning is there's not enough money to spend on the government to do all the things we want to do and the Democrats want to do and we don't have enough members. I mean, the reality is Obama had 59, 60 Senators when he put this through, 25 more House members than we have today. We need to have a good election in 2018. We're not going to have a good election if we don't get this stuff moving forward.

BARTIROMO: All right. Quick break then brand new details emerging that Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. We've got more on that political fallout with our panel as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." James Freeman, Ed Rollins, next.


BARTIROMO: Well, the list of people who attended that meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer apparently growing. It started with four, now we're learning at least eight people were in that room including a former Soviet Intel Officer, a Russian translator and an unidentified family member of a Russian billionaire. We're back with our panel Ed Rollins and James Freeman. What do you think, collusion evidence or a big nothing burger?

ROLLINS: I think this is a silly meeting to have ever had. Having managed campaigns for Presidents, this is a meeting that never should have taken place. And all I can say at this point in time is whatever the story that they're telling today had better be 100 percent honest. If for some reason there's something else to comes out, we got eight people in a room all with different versions of it, this is - this is not something that we should be debating today, this would be something that should be over. I don't believe there was collusion, I don't believe the Russians had any effect. But any time you mention Russian, you should - I always run a campaign in which I worry about the electoral votes. There are no electoral votes in Russia. This is a meeting that never should have taken place.

BARTIROMO: And I will - still if somebody calls you and says I have damaging info on your opponent, what are you going to say? Yes, love it. Let's hear it.

ROLLINS: I'll send it to my lawyer, my opposition research. I wouldn't take - I wouldn't take the son-in-law or the son of the President elect or Manafort who should have known better, who basically has been all entangled in Ukraine and Russia for a long time. So I think, to a certain extent, this was stupidity on the part of the - of the Trump campaign. I don't think it was collusion. I think it was stupidity.

BARTIROMO: It was to be fair way earlier than the whole Russia gate began. James?

FREEMAN: Yes. And I think the White House certainly would help itself with clean comprehensive disclosure of all Russian contacts, get it out there. And so there isn't this constant effort to learn more. But on the other hand, I'm not sure this really adds a whole lot. There was a - they took a meeting with some shady Russian and now it turns out another shady Russian was also present. I mean, politicians, people in our line of work often you have meetings and there are various staff and others attending. I'm not sure not being able to name each person there is really that big a deal.

BARTIROMO: But is this a distraction to the agenda? I go back to the agenda.

ROLLINS: It's a terrible distraction. The President has had two very important meetings last two weeks. He had a very important meeting with Putin a week ago in the G20. He did very well but the Putin meeting was critical. We've not talked a bit about that. We talked nothing about this.

BARTIROMO: That's right.

ROLLINS: He had a very important meeting with our ally - our old ally, oldest ally of all the French, the new young leader there. Again, it's not being talked about. It's being - this is the junk that's being talked about. My sense is this White House has to get very disciplined on its message, drive health care, taxes, infrastructure, and let the outside forces deal with all the other stuff.

BARTIROMO: I agree with you. James, what do think?

FREEMAN: People can choose what they want to distract them. You look at the judgment of global investors is that despite some people in the media screaming treason and crimes committed, investors are looking at this and kind of shrugging their shoulders. They don't think much of it. I think for - we've been talking about moving the agenda. For politicians on the Hill, Lawmakers, this is not an excuse to say that Trump-Russia stuff, the tweets are distracting us. Just do your job. He's ready to sign health care reform, tax cuts. Send it to his desk.

BARTIROMO: All right. You heard it here. Get on it, Washington. Thank you very much, gentlemen. Ed Rollins, James Freeman, I'll see you next week on "Mornings With Maria" on the Fox Business Network. That will do it for us right here. Stay with Fox News. Here's "MediaBuzz" with Howie Kurtz after the short break.

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