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Possible Health Care Supreme Court Decision; Tropical Storm Debby Stalls; Jubilation in Egypt; Obamacare: 60 Years in the Making; Key Battle Over Healthcare Law>
Aired June 25, 2012 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, nine justices, two landmark decisions starting in an hour. The Supreme Court could release its rulings on the sweeping health care law and Arizona's tough immigration law. A lot at stake for everyone. We are following developments as only CNN can.
Also tropical storm Debby slamming the Gulf Coast with strong winds and predicted to dump at least 15 inches of rain on northern Florida. Debby is already blamed for at least one death.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scared half to death. It's pretty traumatic.
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COSTELLO: We got the latest forecast track.
War on cranberries? Michelle Obama just wants kids to lay off sugary drinks but she probably didn't expect cranberry farmers to be mad at her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?
JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
COSTAS: Yes. Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: This exchange between Jerry Sandusky and Bob Costas was so damaging it was used as evidence in court but what you just heard might actually end up helping the convicted child rapist. It all has to do with a bad video edit. I'll talk with a legal expert. And too close to call, this photo finish was no help to judges. Take a close look. What do you think? There can only be one winner so who decides.
NEWSROOM begins right now.
And good morning. Happy Monday to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us.
Right now we are keeping a close eye on the U.S. Supreme Court. Could be just minutes away from issuing some of its most important decisions in decades. Announcements could come at the top of the hour or for that matter any time this week. The decisions could shape President Obama's legacy. His chances for re-election and most importantly your health. At issue, whether the government can force you to buy health insurance.
Also expected this week a decision in the passionate debate over immigration and once again it's a test of federal power. Did Arizona overstep its authority in creating top new immigration laws. The rulings are sure to ignite new debate on individual rights and public safety.
Here's CNN's Kate Bolduan.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're done.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signs into law the signature achievement of his presidency, the Affordable Care Act, the landmark and controversial health care overhaul.
OBAMA: After all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America.
BOLDUAN: Within hours states across the country filed lawsuits challenging the law.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is about liberty, it's not just about health care.
BOLDUAN: Led by Florida, 26 states argued the law's central provision is unconstitutional. The so-called individual mandate. It requires almost every American to purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. Opponents say the Constitution's "Commerce Clause" does not give Congress the power to force individuals to purchase a commercial product like health insurance they may not need or want.
Paul Clement is arguing on behalf of the states before the Supreme Court.
PAUL CLEMENT, ATTORNEY FOR STATES CHALLENGING LAW: These issues are really central to whether the federal government can really regulate anything it wants to. BOLDUAN: The government defends the sweeping reforms, arguing medical care is not a choice. That every American will need health care at some point in their lives. They also say that tens of millions of uninsured Americans are costing everyone else more. $43 billion in uncompensated costs in 2008 alone according to government figures.
ELIZABETH WYDRA, CHIEF COUNSEL, CONSTITUTIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY CENTER: No one is saying that there is a right to free load off of one's neighbor when you decide not to choose health insurance.
BOLDUAN: The stakes only grow larger with the Supreme Court taking the case just months before an election.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm president we're getting rid of Obamacare and returning to freedom.
BOLDUAN: And the election year blockbuster has again turned the spotlight on the justices themselves. As with the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 will the justices be criticized for letting politics creep into the courtroom?
THOMAS GOLDSTEIN, PUBLISHER, SCOTUBLOG.COM: While the health care cases have huge political overtones obviously I think the justices are probably going to put them to the side. The legal stakes are so high that I don't think they will pay attention that much if at all to the fact that it's occurring in an election cycle. They've just got to get the case right.
COSTELLO: Kate Bolduan reporting.
Ever since the Supreme Court heard the health care arguments in March legal experts and journalists have been trying to predict how each justice will vote. One tried and true method has been measuring how each member of the court focused on one team of lawyers. If history beard out the health care reform may be in trouble. That's because only a minority of the bench, the four Democratic appointees, focused their scrutiny on lawyers challenging the law.
That lists Justices Kagan, Bryer, Sotomayor and Ginsburg. Now the members of the court who aimed most of their attention at the administration's lawyer, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia were all one-sided. Anthony Kennedy a bit less so but he appears to be the swing vote. He's a moderate conservative. Justice Clarence Thomas rarely speaks during the court's arguments but historically he has supported conservative values.
And in addition to our coverage today, just so you know, CNN.com will blog live on what's happening at the U.S. Supreme Court. You can find it at CNN.com/thisjustin. CNN.com/thisjustin, get the rulings as they come down and reaction to the decisions. Tweets from our reporters covering the story of the field as well as the reaction from around the world. CNN.com/thisjustin if you want to join in on the fun this morning.
We're also watching two massive weather events this morning that are affecting millions of you. Tropical storm Debby has stalled in the Gulf of Mexico and delivering a double threat to Florida. The swirling menacing skies will drop as much as 25 inches of rain on some areas. In central Florida an apparent tornado has killed at least one person. Even the experts aren't sure where this storm is headed next.
And in Colorado this morning at least seven, seven wildfires are burning and flames like these have chased more than 10,000 people from their homes. Relief nowhere on the horizon. More than 100,000 acres have burned and fire crews say hot, dry conditions will work against them in the coming days.
So let's begin with the beating that Florida is taking this morning. Tropical storm Debby may not be moving much for the next couple of days, that could mean widespread flooding, though, and huge damage costs. But the storm is not just a rainmaker it's also capable ever spinning off tornadoes like the ones that seem to strike near Sarasota.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It all happened really fast in a matter of 30 seconds. We just saw a bunch of wind pick up. We were shoved into the bathroom.
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COSTELLO: CNN's John Zarrella is in Pass-a-Grille, the Pass-a- Grille district to St. Pete Beach, Florida.
John, how does it look there?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Carol, you know, we were driving from Clearwater South through Madeira Beach and Treasure Island and past Saint Pete Beach here to the Pass-a-Grille. This is one of those areas that last night did get hit by either straight line winds or a waterspout that may have developed in the Gulf and come across here.
A lot of damage in this particular area. Some roofs we noticed that had been pulled up, a lot of roofing material torn off. Trees uprooted, the power was completely out in this area. We do not know of any significant injuries at all in this area, fortunately. But a lot of people are out right now. The fire department, the paramedics are here as well as the police because, you know, on every block here and it's just a very narrow spit of land with water on the intercostals on one land and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, and just about every block has some form of damage.
I'm looking right now at some huge, huge uprooted oak trees here as well as a house that lost a little bit of its roofing material. So, you know, a lot of the kind of damage, Carol, that you would expect to see from, a -- you know, either straight line winds or a small waterspout or tornado that came through here. Of course if you were in the middle of it last night, of course when this weather hit here it was certainly, I'm sure, very frightening experience for the people here. But this is clearly, you know, the worst and most significant damage that we've seen so far -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK. I know you're driving to your final destination. When you get there you'll rejoin us maybe in about an hour or so.
John Zarrella reporting live this morning from Florida.
So you heard Debby has confounded experts all weekend long. Much of the Gulf Coast still on edge because meteorologists can't figure out where this thing will eventually go.
Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is trying, though.
What does it took like now, Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Carol, let me tell you why. OK? And let me show you. This is what we call the spaghetti plot. Now what each of these lines are are a different computer model's projection of where this computer model thinks it will go. Some have it going west, some have it going east. Very desperate nature you can see now but less so than what we've seen the last couple of days. The consensus generally now here into northwest Florida. But also want to show you National Hurricane Center does have its official track as well and it has it moving north- northeastward making landfall perhaps on Thursday, maybe early Thursday morning. You can see by Apalachicola.
Right now the center of location is 90 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola. You're saying, where is this tropical storm? Right, you don't even see it. All this right here has been where the rain is and the heaviest rain has been on the eastern side. It's not organized. It's incredibly lopsided.
Here's where the center of circulation is. See this F in the (INAUDIBLE)? It's right, just north and east of that. And you know we've seen some dry air work into that. All you need to know about that is we're seeing some weakening and we're not seeing kind of blow up like we had seen, although you can see right here the beginning of maybe some redevelopment in intensity.
But winds are still and have been at 50 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds. This is the key. Its movement. Stationary and the movement not expected to go anywhere for the next couple of days. Not even the next couple of hours. So that's been key and the fact that there's no really forward momentum is kind of adding to injury in terms of the difficulty in forecasting where it will go. That's one aspect.
The second aspect no upper level movement. Nothing kind of pushing it out of the way or one way.
Here's what we could see. This could be a big flooding event. Well, Carol, it wouldn't surprise me that here's this rain maybe six to 10 inches but maybe we've seen the worst of it already. Wouldn't be out of the question which John was talking about in Florida with the tornadoes and of course the seven inches of rain record breaking for yesterday.
COSTELLO: Well, I hope that is the scenario we're looking at.
COSTELLO: That would be the best bet.
Alexandra, thank you.
STEELE: Yes, sure.
COSTELLO: Let's head on into Egypt. Many people who filled Tahrir Square to protest and overthrow their former president are now celebrating the country's first democratically elected president. That would be the former Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi. He'll take office July 1st after defeating former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik. But Morsi's challenges are just beginning.
Ian Lee, live in Cairo, overlooking Tahrir Square, what's the mood there?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, the mood right now is I think people are a little bit tired from celebrating last night. This wasn't really a strong mandate from Mohamed Morsi to rule Egypt. If you look -- break down the numbers he won by a little over 50 percent which shows just about half of Egypt didn't really want him to be president or really didn't care.
But for the supporters down in the square that they were overly excited when the news came in, hugging each other, jumping for joy, people crying, it was quite a scene to behold.
I want to also point out to you, though, that not everyone who was in the square were supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. There were other people who were part of revolutionary groups who didn't want so much Mohamed Morsi but they definitely didn't want to see Ahmed Shafiq as the president.
But now moving forward, Mohamed Morsi still doesn't have complete control of the president. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces did limit some of its powers to basically engaging countries with internationally and also selecting his cabinet but legislative powers still lie with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
COSTELLO: Ian Lee reporting live for us this morning from Cairo.
Still ahead, no money in the bank? No problem. Just keep those small debit purchases under $5 and JPMorgan says it won't charge you and overdraft fee.
COSTELLO: Sixteen minutes past the hour. Checking our top stories now.
In 45 minutes, the U.S. Supreme Court could issue rulings in two key cases, one concerns whether President Obama's health care law is constitutional. We could also learn the fate of Arizona's controversial immigration law.
In weather news, tropical storm Debby lashes Florida with more strong winds and threatens to spawn more tornadoes. Debby has stalled in the gulf but could dump as much a foot of rain across northern Florida. The storm being blamed for one death after tornadoes destroyed several homes in central Florida.
The unofficial symbol for Ecuador Galapagos Islands has died. Lonesome George was estimated to be 100 years old. He's a giant tortoise. He was from Pinta Island and the last of his particular species.
In sports, it's come down to a coin toss or a runoff for the U.S. women's 100 meter dash. This incredible photo finish. Look at that. It is too close to call even for a camera.
Both runners finished in an absolute dead heat for third place. Now officials are trying to figure out what to do since only the top three can make to it the Olympic team.
In money news, JPMorgan Chase says it will stop charging overdraft fees for any debit card purchase of $5 or less no matter how many transactions you make. The decision was actually part of a $110 million class action lawsuit settlement. Some had accused the bank of charging excessive overdraft fees.
You may love it or hate it or simply not understand it. So, if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, will you care? That's what we're asking you today. Our talk back is next.
COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk about on one of the big stories of the day, the question for you this morning, what do you want to see happen to Obamacare? Obamacare, the final showdown. As the conservative "Drudge Report" put it, death panel, supreme set fatal blow to Obamacare? Question mark, question mark? That's what Republicans are hoping.
The U.S. Supreme Court will do what they couldn't: kill the bill. It could happen. The supremes could decide as Justice Scalia put it, not to force you to eat broccoli.
If the court does deem the whole shebang unconstitutional, that means insurance companies can once again deny coverage. Young people will no longer be able to stay on their parents' plans and seniors will get no help with prescription drug costs. It also means the individual mandate, the requirement that most of us buy health insurance will die.
Polls show most Americans don't like the law. They also show most Americans don't tuned law. Some say it doesn't go far enough. But Democrats have already have their talking points ready just in case.
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REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: We cannot say to the American people we're going to throw you at the mercy of the insurance companies, but, again, there has to be a way to pay for it, to reduce the cost, to expand the coverage, to improve the quality and this bill did just that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: With the individual mandate. Also Republicans, they are vowing not to spike the ball if the law goes down. Though some are considering resurrecting parts of the law, that voters seem to like except that is for House Speaker John Boehner.
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REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Unless the court throws out the entire bill, the House will vote to repeal whatever is left of Obamacare.
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COSTELLO: Bottom line, Americans will still be confused about the law, and our health care system will still be a mess. So the question for you this morning, what do you want -- what do you want to happen to Obamacare? What do you want the U.S. Supreme Court to do?
Facebook.com/CarolCNN, Facebook.com/CarolCNN. I'll read your comments later this hour.
Huge wildfires in Colorado are chasing 10,000 people from their homes. And there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight for them or for firefighters.
COSTELLO: Twenty-five minutes past the hour.
In just about 30 minutes, the Supreme Court could issue rulings on two key case, one concerns whether President Obama's health care law is constitutional, we could also learn the fate of Arizona's controversial immigration law. We have a lot of people down at the U.S. Supreme Court keeping an eye on things.
But let's talk about health care reform because that's considered the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration and with good reason. For 60 years, presidents of both parties tried and failed to improve health care coverage for Americans.
CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has more for you.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In putting his signature on what came to be known as Obamacare, the president did what others had tried to do and failed, many times since World War II, starting with Harry Truman.
ALLAN LICHTMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, AMERICAN UNIV.: He wanted to increase the availability of doctors and hospitals and have the government serve as a guarantor of insurance for all Americans.
GUPTA: But in Congress, Truman's plan never got so much as a vote.
LICHTMAN: The American Medical Association, very wealthy, very powerful lobby group, also vehemently campaigned against Truman's health care plans.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We do not want socialized medicine.
GUPTA: In the 1960s a similar fight, Ronald Reagan, before becoming governor of California recorded this message. Pass Medicare and the United States would soon become like the communist Soviet Union.
REAGAN: One of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in America when men were free.
GUPTA: But Reagan's efforts fell short. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed a law creating Medicare, health insurance for every American over the age of 65 and Medicaid for the poor. It wasn't just Democrats, Richard Nixon had big ambitions on health care.
STUART ALTMAN FORMER NIXON ADVISER: Richard Nixon, which I happen to work for, put forth a very comprehensive plan which looks a lot in structure like the Obama plan. And then you remember we had a little problem with Watergate and Nixon resigned and health insurance totally died.
GUPTA: By the early 1990s, there was the Clinton plan to cover every American without spending more.
HILLARY CLINTON, THEN-U.S. FIRST LADY: Health care reform must be achieved for the good of our country.
GUPTA: Too big opponents said. Too expensive, too complicated.
LICHTMAN: We're going to lose our doctors. We're not going to be able to make medical choices anymore. It wasn't true but these kinds of arguments resonated.
GUPTA: Like Truman's plan, it never came to a full vote. Around that time, many Republicans like House Speaker Newt Gingrich started talking of something called a mandate -- a requirement that every American buy his or her own coverage.
LICHTMAN: By having a mandate you can have universal or near universal coverage and still preserve the private insurance system. So the idea of a mandate was a Republican idea.
GUPTA: By 2008, Hillary Clinton now running for president was pushing the mandate herself.
CLINTON: I cannot stress to you how passionately I feel about fighting for universal health care.
GUPTA: As she ran against the young senator, Barack Obama. Back then, though, candidate Obama was against it.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton says, I'm going to make universal health care by mandating that everybody buy it. But if people can't afford it, it doesn't matter what the mandate is, they're not going to buy it.
GUPTA: But by election time, he had come around to Clinton's position. And now, Obamacare will likely rise or fall on that very pillar.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
COSTELLO: That's right. In just about 30 minutes, the U.S. Supreme Court, the justice might reveal its decision on whether Obamacare and the individual mandate, the requirement we all buy insurance, is constitutional. We're watching.
While all of this is going on the campaign for president continues. Mitt Romney will be in Arizona later today, just in time for a possible Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law.
And President Obama will be in Massachusetts, where Romneycare similar to Obamacare is up and running.
CNN's political director Mark Preston is in Washington.
Do you think the candidates planned that or is it just karma?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Carol, how dare you take policy and politics and try to weave it together?
COSTELLO: It's weird though, isn't it?
PRESTON: You know, it is weird. For Mr. Romney, it's probably not that good when you're just talking about immigration. He's now trying to walk a fine line on the whole issue of immigration. We saw him do that last week certainly when he spoke to the NALEO conference. He was very hard lined on illegal immigration in the Republican primary and in many ways that helped him. However, heading into the general election, he needs to back off that a little bit.
Of course, as you said, President Obama, he's going to be in New Hampshire early this afternoon for a campaign event, but he will be in Boston later this evening for a series of fundraisers and that's where Governor Romney helped craft his own health care legislation.
COSTELLO: That's right. So if the U.S. Supreme Court rules the health care law is unconstitutional, will President Obama address the nation?
PRESTON: You know, he'll certainly address it this afternoon. I don't know how he doesn't. In many ways, some would say, you know, this could be devastating for President Obama because this is his signature domestic issue.
However, if the Supreme Court does strike down parts of the law, the Obama administration, the Obama campaign might say look, we got most of it right and in fact that was a good thing. They also could use to it try to rally the base who is very fervently behind the whole idea of health care and I have to point this out, the White House just a short time ago was moving around a press release.
Let me read the headline because it's very telling certainly where we stand right now.
Over 5.2 million people with Medicare save $3.7 billion on prescription drugs thanks to the Affordable Care Act. I got to tell you what, Carol, it's not shocking they would send that just before the Supreme Court might rule on this law.
COSTELLO: No, because they probably want the U.S. Supreme Court to look as partisan as possible if they, of course, come down with a decision that the law is unconstitutional in any way.
Let me ask you about the Republicans. They've already named a GOP response guy. That would be Representative Tom Price. He's a physician from Georgia. He's ready to go.
Now, I want you to all keep in mind there are parts of Obamacare that people like. So, what, Mark, do you suppose that Dr. Price will say?
PRESTON: Well, a couple of things. One they will say that the mandate or what is known as the mandate is unconstitutional and people should not be forced into buying health care insurance. What the Obama administration and campaign is hoping in fact that the Supreme Court today describes it as a tax and if they describe it as a tax the Supreme Court will rule with them.
But it's not just Tom Price who will be helping lead the message for congressional Republicans on Capitol Hill, but I just got off the phone with one of Mitt Romney's top advisors and we shouldn't be surprised by this. But Mitt Romney is planning to tie this no matter what happens to this to the economy and this will part of his message for most of the week and the Romney campaign much like the Obama campaign, has multiple messaging points ready to go if we hear from the Supreme Court in just under 30 minutes.
COSTELLO: OK. So, we'll get ready to be bombarded. Mark Preston, you're going to stick around, right?
PRESTON: I certainly will.
COSTELLO: OK. Because we need you. Thank you, Mark.
A new addition to our coverage today, CNN.com will blog live on what's happening at the court. You can find it at CNN.com/thisjustin. Get the ruling as they come down, reaction to the decision, tweets from our reporters who are covering the story in the field, as well as reaction from around the world.
So, keep in mind, Jeffrey Toobin is inside the U.S. Supreme Court listening just in case. So we'll be interested in seeing what he has to say, CNN.com/thisjustin.
COSTELLO: Just about 30 minutes or less, the U.S. Supreme Court could release its ruling on the health care law. This is a live look from outside of the court where a decision could come down this morning on whether President Obama's signature piece of legislation is constitutional.
The main stick being point: the individual mandate. That requires nearly every American to buy health insurance by 2014 or face stiff financial penalties. Opponents of the health care law say that's unconstitutional.
But let's talk about the war on cranberries. You may be asking what does that have to do with the Supreme Court and Obamacare?
But, first, the cranberry war. Who started it? Michelle Obama and her Let's Move initiative. The Agriculture Department is now finalizing guidelines of what can be sold in school vending machines. Sugar is a target.
We went to Ocean Spray's Web site and cranberry juice cocktail has 30 grams of sugar per eight ounce serving. Cue the Congressional Cranberry Caucus, because, yes, there is one. Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown and others are fighting for cranberries.
They are nutritional. They fight urinary tract infections. Oh, yes, more than 12,000 acres of cranberries are harvested in southeastern Massachusetts. But what makes some people so upset about the war on cranberries is not just the loss of jobs but the government is once again inserting itself into our lives.
So let's talk about how cranberries are symbolic of what bothers many Americans about Obamacare.
CNN contributors Will Cain and L.Z. Granderson join us.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Carol.
COSTELLO: Did you like my cranberry symbolism kind of thing?
GRANDERSON: I sure did. You had me thinking about cranberries actually during your entire intro.
COSTELLO: You what?
CAIN: Right. I think about the departed when I have this conversation. Remember that scene in the departed.
COSTELLO: Oh, I got to watch that.
COSTELLO: Anywho, you could relate cranberries to health care, government, food police, health care, the government forcing you to buy health insurance. So, L.Z., is the idea of the government controlling everything so pervasive the U.S. Supreme Court will consider that and decide to strike down at least part of Obamacare?
GRANDERSON: You know, whenever I think about something like this conversation right now about the cranberry war, if you will, I think about the reason why President Obama may lose this election. It's not necessarily what he's done but how it's been messaged.
The reason I say that is because addressing sugar and how that impacts the economy makes all the sense in the world if you're able to connect the dots. If you think about it, we pay about, I don't know, I think it was $49 billion this year in unpaid hospital bills, most of that because of poor people who can't afford to pay off their bills. Who picks up the tab on that? We do. Taxpayers.
So, if you kind of at least cut back off of poor people getting sick and fat consuming too much sugar, you're actually helping the economy. That's somewhat of a complicated conversation but it's a real conversation. Because the president hasn't been able to communicate that effectively, it comes across as we're trying to control what you eat and what you drink, when actually it really does impact the economy.
COSTELLO: Yes. Well, let's talk about effective message. Many Democrats say, liberals say President Obama hasn't exactly done a great job on communicating what the health care bill is all about. In fact, many people still don't understand it, Will.
CAIN: Yes. You know, I think it's kind of interesting we talk about messaging being the problem as though there's no substantive problem. The proponents of these bills act like they are righteous and so obvious and it is to themselves but they just can't message it out to these silly little Americans who can't understand how to connect the dots.
When the truth is, there's a problem on the substance and there was from start on the individual mandate within Obamacare. You know, the people who were proponent of Obamacare have egg on their face and they have from the beginning. Do you remember Nancy Pelosi getting up there and going up constitutional, are you serious? Are you serious? Do you remember her asking that?
Well, this from the very beginning, people that knew the Commerce Clause, this was a great leap forward, this was a stretch.
This isn't a messaging problem for Obamacare -- I'm not speaking to cranberries. For Obamacare it's not a messaging issue. It's a constitutional issue. It was from the beginning.
COSTELLO: I will say, "Bloomberg" did this big study and said that most constitutional lawyers think the law is constitutional and should be upheld.
COSTELLO: If it's not -- constitutional lawyers study the Constitution. I don't. But I'm just saying, they say if the U.S. Supreme Court like let's say it comes down with a 5-4 decision against Obamacare, then that will prove the U.S. Supreme Court is partisan.
CAIN: That will be -- I have no doubt that will be a concerted and relentless effort and will still neglect to address the basic issue, no matter how many constitutional lawyers might think, it was a great leap forward in constitutional powers.
GRANDERSON: Actually, Will, the basic message is that we still need to do something about our health care system and about poor people and about sick people because it's impacting the economy. That's actually what this is really all about. It isn't necessarily about politics.
GRANDERSON: We're making it political. It's about the people. That's why President Obama instituted this in the first place. He has the best health care insurance available to man on this planet.
He doesn't need it for himself. He's doing it for the sick people. He's doing it to help the economy.
CAIN: L.Z., that's fine. And that issue will remain. You're exactly right. It needs to be addressed. But it's totally irrelevant whether this law was constitutional.
GRANDERSON: How can it be irrelevant? It doesn't exist in a vacuum, Will.
COSTELLO: We have to end it there, unfortunately. L.Z. Granderson --
CAIN: Everything you like does not make it constitutional.
COSTELLO: OK. Oh, they're in different cities, so you can like call each other and fight some more. Thanks so much.
We're standing by to see if the U.S. Supreme Court hands down one of its biggest decisions in years. Will the justice strike down or uphold Obamacare?
COSTELLO: As I've been telling you, we're awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court decision to come down. May or may not come down. We're hoping it comes down today. The Supreme Court will rule whether all or part of President Obama's health care law is constitutional.
Jeffrey Toobin is inside the Supreme Court. He tweeted out two messages and I'll read them to you. His first tweet said, "In the SCOTUS press room, nerd heaven in here." His second tweet, "@SCOTUS, Supreme Court, the courtroom is now open, time to go upstairs to watch decisions promptly at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time."
So, Jeffrey is watching.
So Obamacare the final showdown the U.S. Supreme Court could strike the law down today or rule at least parts of it unconstitutional. So, let's ask this question: Is that good or bad? Of course that all depends.
Joining me now is a Dr. Manisha Sharma with a group Doctors for America. She supports Obamacare.
Sally Pipes is the president of Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco base think tank. She writes a weekly health care column for Forbes.com. She opposes Obamacare.
So Sally let's start with you. You wrote in your recent column the Supreme Court should strike down the law, the entire law saying that would be the best outcome for American patients. Why do you think so?
SALLY PIPES, PRESIDENT OF PACIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well, I think it is the best decision because if they decide to just get rid of the individual mandate we'll then have a serious problem because we have issues such as guaranteed issue and community ratings. Which means insurers cannot discriminate based on a person's pre-existing condition or charged a different price. It's going to cause the insurance industry to go into a downward spiral because people will only buy insurance when they're sick and drop it when they're well.
And we saw in Kentucky and in Washington State where they introduced those two concepts that it -- they caused the insurance industry to decline and in Washington State they had to get rid of it.
So I would like to see it go down and we can start with a fresh approach. We want to empower doctors and patients. We all want affordable, accessible quality care. Obamacare is not the answer. It's going to result in, you know, still a large 23 million people uninsured. We're going to add 18 million people to Medicaid --
COSTELLO: Well, let's -- let's concentrate on the individual mandate because you said something interesting and doctor Sharma I want to pose this question to you.
Sally is right. If the individual mandate is struck down that means you can't really pay for the law because insurance companies are able to take on anybody with pre-existing conditions let's say and the way the insurance companies would pay for that is if well people would buy insurance and then the insurance companies would have the money to do that.
So, if the individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional does that mean the whole thing should go?
MANISHA SHARMA, GROUP DOCTORS FOR AMERICA: No. I think --
COSTELLO: Wait, wait. Dr. Sharma.
SHARMA: Oh sorry, hi.
I think the individual mandate is just a small portion of the law. I mean I agree with Miss Pipes. I mean, the whole idea of the Affordable Care Act was to actually be able to help bridge the gap of people not having affordable health care or having been uninsured.
The Affordable Health Care is actually a health care act actually allows for 32 more million people to be covered. You know I'm not in the business of buying and selling help. I'm in the business of taking care of people. And I -- I went into medicine because I believe in patients over profits.
So the fact is that if the individual mandate actually gets shut down. You know that's not a big part of the bill. We can move forward. The Affordable Care Act actually does provide provisions to protect people and protect my patients.
So I think that the affordable care act won't be shut down and if the individual mandate does I'm disappointed, but we'll move forward.
COSTELLO: Well Sally, there are aspects of Obamacare that people like, like the part where you can keep your kid on your insurance plan until they are 26 years old.
COSTELLO: Help seniors pay for prescription drugs. You know it covers the doughnut hole there. So if the entire law is struck down those things would go away too, right?
PIPES: Yes, they absolutely would and -- but insurance companies will be able to decide on what -- what they want to do. And some insurance companies have already said that they are going to continue with keeping young people on their parent's plans until age 26. We have about 3.5 million kids are on their parent's insurance. I'm not sure how many of them had their own insurance and gave it up and then transferred on to their parent's plan. But it is definitely added to the cost of employer-based coverage. The average plan today for a family of four is about $15,000. It is up because of the expansion of including kids.
Another thing that some insurers have said they're going to cover people with pre-existing conditions and as you said they want to close the doughnut hole on the Medicare Part D.
So but you know, some of the big worries are if the mandate goes down we still have the state based exchanges in there, we have this tremendous expansion of adding 18 million people to Medicaid and of course the subsidies for people the 16 million people.
So it's -- it's -- I think it's so important that the whole law be struck down and we start again with a plan that will bring affordable accessible quality care.
COSTELLO: I'm -- I'm really sorry, we're going to have to leave it -- we're going to have to leave it there. And you know when you say start fresh that kind of scares me because I remember the last time we started fresh on this. And it was one of the --
SHARMA: Can it -- can I, I'm sorry.
COSTELLO: Go ahead. Last word it's going have to be quick..
SHARMA: Ok yes now but I -- I so, what Miss Pipes is suggesting is that if we strike this down the insurance companies take control.
So, I mean, you're asking to line pockets of insurance companies and not being able to focus on patient care. So, if you want the Affordable Care Act to be struck down then I would like to know what the solution is of protecting people. You're asking for the insurance companies to make the decision for me as a doctor, and that's what the problem was in the beginning.
Doctors took control of this and said enough is enough, we want to have our patients protected. We want to be protected and you're not giving me any solutions.
COSTELLO: Ok so you both -- you both --
PIPES: Well in my book -- in my book.
COSTELLO: Wait a second, you both are going to stick around, you'll be here for the next hour and ten minutes so you'll be able to get in all your talking points and hopefully a decision will be forthcoming.
So stick around, thanks to you both.
PIPES: Thanks Carol.
COSTELLO: As we have been saying, the Supreme Court could make a ruling today on health care. We're watching it every step of the way Jeffrey Toobin in court, hopefully he'll have an answer for us soon. We'll be back.
COSTELLO: We are covering all the angles of the Supreme Court decision on health care which could come down in minutes. So let's bring in CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger and David Gergen, a political analyst. Welcome to both of you.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
COSTELLO: Ok so anybody have any predictions? Gloria?
BORGER: No. No, no, no. I would not predict what the Supreme Court is going to do. But I will tell you that particularly regarding health care reform, I think this is the most important political decision, if you will, or a decision that will affect politics, the most important since Bush versus Gore.
I think anything this court does, particularly with a 5-4 ruling is going to impact this presidential race, in a huge way. It's going to impact the country in a huge way. And I don't think we can really underestimate or understate the importance of what the court is going to do. And --
COSTELLO: I'm amazed -- I'm amazed, David, that -- that the court's decision has remained secret because it's made its decision, you know it made it a while ago and not a peep.
GERGEN: Absolutely Carol. Isn't it really striking? It's one of the few times Washington does keep a secret.
I must say, I have a sense that there must be some sort of conversations going on behind the scenes because there has been this feeling in the last two or three weeks that it is going to strike down the mandate.
The morning opened on Entrade, Carol, with 80 percent likelihood that the court was going to strike the mandate. It's been interesting to watch those odds have fallen since, it's at about 74 percent now. But I think the expectation is the mandate is going to go. And I agree with Gloria, this is a momentous decision, not only important for many, many -- millions of Americans, important for this President, whether he gets re-elected. It's like a seed .
Important for the history of the court. It's been a long time since the court has struck down a major legislative signature issue from a president, back to FDR.
COSTELLO: And Gloria, I just want to ask you this question. You know, it's a momentous decision, yet, I think that most Americans don't understand all of the law and they don't understand that the law has not -- the entire law hasn't even been implemented yet.
BORGER: Right. The law doesn't really -- a lot of the law doesn't take effect until 2014 and that was one of the reasons the Obama administration actually argued that we shouldn't even be dealing with part of the law.
Or that -- so, look, I think that this is a huge decision, people understand it at a gut level. They understand what universal insurance is, they understand what a mandate is, because they know that after a couple of years, they're going to have to pay in if they don't have health insurance now. They understand the notion of being insured for pre-existing conditions. And those kinds of issues, prescription drug benefits and all the rest so.
So while they may not understand every jot and tittle of this huge law, a lot of people don't, most people don't, I think they do understand the impact of it.
Let me say one more thing politically, what's interesting to me is if you take a step back here and you look at President Obama and Mitt Romney, health care has been at the center of both of their political universes and they both had to kind of deal with it in the aftermath one way or another. This was supposed to be the President's legacy --
Borger: Now he's fighting for it with the Supreme Court. And in the state of Massachusetts, it was Mitt Romney's legacy and now he's running away from it as fast as he can.
COSTELLO: And we're going to have to leave it there. We're going to take a quick break.
As I said, Jeffrey Toobin is inside that courtroom, we're going to check with him, we'll be back with more.