Face the Nation transcript September 24, 2017: Gardner, Collins, Schiff, Short

JOHN DICKERSON, HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION, Republicans rush to secure votes for one last run at health care reform?

The war of words with North Korea reaches new lows.

And the president takes on NFL owners and athletes who want to wage a silent protest.

We'll talk with Maine Republican Susan Collins, whose support is crucial for a new version of health care reform. Plus, Colorado's Corey Gardner -- he hasn't made his decision either, but as head of the Republican Senate Reelection Committee, what's the political cost of Republican inaction?

Congressman Adam Schiff is the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. He'll update us on the investigation into Trump staff ties to the Russians during the campaign.

And we'll hear from Mark Short, the White House liaison to Congress.

All that plus our political panel coming up on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION.

I'm John Dickerson.

It was a busy week for President Trump. It started with a confrontational speech at the United Nations Tuesday, where he threatened to totally destroy North Korea if the U.S. were forced to defend itself or its allies.

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DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "Rocket Man" is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

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DICKERSON: And condemned once again the Iranian nuclear deal agreed to by his predecessor.

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TRUMP: We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles.

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DICKERSON: President Trump followed up on that tough talk on North Korea by imposing sanctions on foreign countries that trade with North Korea, in an effort to further isolate the regime and force them to the negotiating table.

Friday, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, made a rare move of responding directly to the president.

"Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire," he wrote in a statement.

The president characteristically responded by Twitter. "Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before."

Republicans are also making an 11th hour effort to get a health care bill through the Senate before an end of the month deadline makes it next to impossible to do so. The Graham-Cassidy bill would end the ObamaCare mandate and let states come up with their own plans.

But there are problems with the bill. No federal guarantee for people with pre-existing conditions and the bill is being rushed through without knowing what it will cost and how many people will be affected.

Republicans can only afford two "no" votes and two have said they can't support it already.

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TRUMP: That was a totally unexpected thing. Terrible. Honestly terrible.

Repeal and replace, because John McCain, if you look at his campaign, his last campaign, was all about repeal and replace.

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DICKERSON: Also late Friday, the president rushed into a new controversy, taking on pro-football and the players who have protested racial injustice.

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TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son-of-a-bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired?

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TRUMP: He's fired!

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DICKERSON: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement yesterday saying, "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL."

We're joined by James Brown, CBS News special correspondent and the host of "NFL TODAY" -- JB, the response to the president's comments has been pretty overwhelming, from players, from owners.

What are you hearing?

JAMES BROWN, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Pretty much what you just articulated, John, that from the commissioner, owners and players, they have uniformly and universally disavowed those comments.

You know, leadership, John, is about being a unifier, if you will. And engaging in vulgar, profane references to a group of young professionals who have been peacefully exhibiting their First Amendment rights is not the way to engage in civil discourse for the purpose of resolving longstanding, well-documented problems in their communities. And all they're aiming to do is to make sure that the first words of "The U.S. Constitution," "We, the People," is inclusive and they have those same rights and freedoms -- John.

DICKERSON: JB, what is your sense of how this gets resolved and keeps from escalating?

Is there a collective role here or is it up to the players, the owners, the fans, the communities?

How do you see this getting better and not worse?

BROWN: I think they all are involved in that. I've long articulated that there needs to be an inclusive discussion and inclusive groups, not inhomogeneous groups, all people the same ethnic -- ethnicity or color or what have you.

I'm loving what coaches Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks has been doing or Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins.

Their aim has been to hear the players, to understand. They may disagree with the manner in which they peacefully articulate their concerns, but at least they hear them.

Bill Cowher, you know, our Super Bowl winning coach has said that, as well, because it's about a team-building effort. We'll all benefit from that -- John.

DICKERSON: All right, JB, thanks so much for being with us.

And now we turn to Colorado Republican, Cory Gardner, a key voice for sanctions against in the Senate.

He joins us from Yuma, Colorado.

Senator, before we get to North Korea, I want to start with Graham-Cassidy, the health care bill moving through the Senate that's likely to be brought up last week -- next week.

Last week, you said that you were waiting for the assessment from the Congressional Budget Office.

John McCain has said there is no way the Congressional Budget Office can give the numbers that would adequately tell what's going to happen with this bill and that's why he's not supporting it.

What's your position?

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: Well, I think there's still more that we're looking for. I think the CBO will have a role to play in this. I believe there's information that will be coming through a committee hearing on Monday and additional text changes that will add additional information to HHS' analysis, the Health and Human Services' analysis of the bill.

So what we have right now in place for Colorado has led to double digit health care -- health insurance increases. We've seen the insurance commissioner in Colorado increase -- certify increases of 27 percent insurance rates for next year. We've seen that on top of double digit rate increases in the last year.

It's not acceptable.

So I hope we can find something, work together, put something in place that actually works to the lower -- lower the cost of health care and increase the quality of care.

DICKERSON: There have been some extraordinary quotes this week from your colleagues. One is from Senator Chuck Grassley, talking, really, about the blunt political calculus here. Senator Grassley said, "I could maybe five you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn't be considered. But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That's pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill."

Senator Pat Roberts, another or your Republican colleagues, essentially said that if this bill isn't passed, that Republicans would lose control of the Senate.

And there's a "New York Times" piece in which you're quoted as saying donors are furious. "We haven't kept our promise."

The picture that emerges from all of this is a rush for political reasons to support this and not substantive reasons.

What are your thoughts about that?

GARDNER: Well, this has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors. It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that's bankrupting them.

I meet with countless people across the state of Colorado, all four corners here, who are basically paying a second mortgage every month to afford their insurance, to pay for their insurance, that they can't actually afford to use. Half a million people in Colorado lost their health insurance, had their health insurance canceled, excuse me, because they were told it wasn't good enough, it didn't meet the specifications, even though they wanted to keep that health insurance.

And so we have a system right now that has led to higher costs, that has led to fewer choices in terms of being able to keep their doctors.

People are paying $10,000 or more in deductibles, $8,000 in deductibles. They're paying $1,200, $1,500 a month for insurance. It's not working.

That's the reason why we need a new policy. That's what this fight is about, it's to make sure that the American people are better off.

DICKERSON: But Senator, there's been a great deal of opposition from the American Medical Association, from the directors of Medicaid in the states to the substance of the bill.

So all the problems you named can exist, but for this particular remedy, the criticism is that it's being forced through for political reasons. We all know from our reporting that there is great anger at the grassroots and at the donor level.

And then you have senators basically affirming that. It seems hard to argue that there is not tremendous political pressure and that that's overweighing the substantive critiques to this bill.

GARDNER: Well, I think that they're -- the people who are opponents of the bill certainly want this to be about politics and not policy. But the bottom line is, for the past seven years, we've made it a very high priority to put something in place for the American people of the Affordable Care Act that actually works.

And that's what we have to do. Look, I hear stories from places like Holyoke, Colorado, from Denver, Colorado, from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, of people who have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket. They lost the doctor that they were promised they could keep. The average family of four was told they would see lower health care costs of $2,500 per family a year. but that simply hasn't materialized. And so what's good policy is what matters to the American people.

Now, if people are going to play politics, that's what they're going to do. But I think what we have an obligation to do as the Senate majority, as, hopefully, bipartisan...

DICKERSON: All right...

GARDNER: -- people on both sides of the aisle will come together to pass a bill that works for the American people, to lower costs, to put something in place that works better than the status quo, because the status quo is simply not good enough.

DICKERSON: All right, let's see. We'll move on now to North Korea.

You've been working on this issue for a long time, pushing for sanctions.

Why do you think sanctions are going to work with North Korea?

GARDNER: You know, we have a long ways to go when it comes to the diplomatic runway toward North Korea. Last year, when Congress passed my legislation, The North Korea Policy Sanctions Enhancement Act, North Korea was the eighth most sanctioned on Earth -- the eighth most sanctioned nation on Earth.

As a result of that legislation, it's now the fifth or fourth most sanctioned nation, meaning that we have a long ways to go to continue to ratchet up the economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea and the enablers of North Korea.

Our number one goal with North Korea, as it relates to North Korea, must and always will be peaceful denuclearization of the North Korean regime.

We will stand to protect our great allies, South Korea and Japan, protect the U.S. homeland.

But we have a lot of work to do on the diplomatic and economic side before we think of any other options.

DICKERSON: But I guess my point is Vladimir Putin said the North Koreans would eat grass before giving up their nuclear program, that they are uniquely resilient to sanctions. They've gone through famines with lots of loss of life and still haven't changed their way of behaving.

Why will they now?

GARDNER: Well, Vladimir Putin ought to try to work with us to denuclearize North Korea. China needs to do a better job of taking responsibility to work toward denuclearization of North Korea.

Look, this is a regime that has made multiple promises over the past 20 years. A bipartisan failure, the last eight years, of "strategic patience" that led us to where we are today with nuclear tests and multiple missile launches and his advancement in a ballistic missile capability.

It's unacceptable to allow North Korea to maintain and retain a nuclear program.

Why?

It will lead to not only continued threats against the homeland, perhaps further than that threat, and it will also lead to proliferation throughout the area. I've already been approached by members of Korea's national assembly to put in place tactical nuclear weapons by the United States on the South Korean Peninsula. If we are going to be avoiding proliferation in the region, which we must do, then we have to make sure that we continue to work with our partners around the globe to peacefully denuclearize the regime.

China is responsible for 90 percent of the economy in North Korea. It's time they do more.

DICKERSON: Quickly, Senator, just before we go, you spoke out about the president's tepid reaction to the violence in Charlottesville.

The president has now stepped into the middle of a controversy about the NFL.

I just wonder what you make of his remarks this week.

GARDNER: Look, I made it very clear in the aftermath of of Charlottesville that there is no room in this country for hate, that the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacist groups are hateful, that there's no room for them and we must call evil by its name, and that is the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

When it comes to this recent spat with the NFL, look, there are far more important things that we ought to be focusing on. You've mentioned them -- North Korea, Iran, concern about the health care bill. That's what I'm going to continue to focus on, making sure that we take care of this country's needs in a way that people know they're better off.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator Gardner, thanks so much for being with us.

And we'll be back in a moment.

GARDNER: Thanks, John.

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DICKERSON: We turn now to Senator Susan Collins, who is leaning against the Senate health care bill.

She joins us this morning from Bangor, Maine.

Senator, you're waiting to hear from the Congressional Budget Office, for it to give you its assessment of this bill.

What is it that you're most worried about?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I really have three major concerns.

One is the impact on the Medicaid program. This is a very important program in my state and many others, because it provides needed health care to low income seniors, to disabled children and to so many of our most vulnerable citizens. And some of the projections are that a trillion dollars would be taken out of the Medicaid program between the year 2020 and 2036. That would have a devastating impact. And the changes -- the sweeping changes have not been thoroughly analyzed by Congress.

Second, I'm really concerned about continued coverage and protection for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes or cancer. This bill clearly weakens those protections. So it would depend on where you live. And you would still sold insurance, but it might as well be unaffordable.

And, finally, I'm very concerned both with the current law and with the proposed law about the impact on premium costs and on the number of people who will be covered.

DICKERSON: So, Senator, that's a really long list.

Is there anything really...

COLLINS: (INAUDIBLE).

DICKERSON: -- given your experience and your knowledge of health care and the rush to get this done before next week -- it just doesn't seem possible with your long list that it -- that your fears can be allayed by anything CBO is going to put out.

COLLINS: Well, it is hard for me to envision getting to "yes" on this bill, because my concerns are so fundamental. CBO's analysis in the past has been very helpful to me in evaluating bills such as the previous bills that I opposed. And that's why I'd like to see it.

The problem is, CBO may have a very difficult time analyzing the bill, because it still seems to be a moving target. Even over the weekend, the sponsors were making changes in it. And I think that's part of the problem.

You can't -- when we we're dealing with a sixth of our economy and millions of people, you can't do sound health insurance policy this way. You need to have extensive hearings. The Democrats must come to the table. And that is what we should be doing.

DICKERSON: There's a -- there's one hearing scheduled for Monday. So in your view, that's not enough?

COLLINS: That isn't even close to enough. You know, the Medicaid program has been on the books for more than 50 years. The Graham-Cassidy bill proposes a dramatic sweeping change in the way that program would be allocated and administered. And a program which does need reform, but we need careful reform.

And I don't think this bill does that.

DICKERSON: Your Republican colleagues say on the record and off, that this might lose them control of the Senate.

What do you think of that -- if this doesn't pass?

COLLINS: I don't think that's the case. What Americans want is more affordable health care. And throughout this entire debate, it is so ironic that when the ACA was being passed years ago and as we're deliberating today, that there is not enough focus on looking at the causes of escalating health care costs.

And that includes taking a look at the rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs. And that is something that we need to do way more focus on that.

I think that the Senate Health Committee has done a great job in having four substantive hearings. We ought to proceed down that route and do a series of bills that fixes the current law, which does have a lot of flaws.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you one last question.

If this fails in the Senate and the current law stays in place, the Affordable Care Act, what obligation does Health and Human Services have, the Department of Health and Human Services, have to support the Affordable Care Act during the open enrollment period that we have coming up?

COLLINS: The Department has to follow the current law. I hope that we can pass a bill that should -- this week that will be bipartisan, help stabilize the markets, help reduce the premiums under the leadership of Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray and those of us who are working hard toward that goal.

But the administration does need to follow the current law until we change it.

DICKERSON: All right, Senator, thanks so much for being with you -- with us.

And we'll be right back in a moment with more FACE THE NATION.

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DICKERSON: And we're back with California Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, I want to start with a deadline that has passed. The Committee has asked the FBI and the Justice Department three times now to give documents related to the so-called Trump dossier.

This is the salacious set of allegations that -- and the FBI has not responded.

What's going on?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, this is a subpoena that was issued by our chairman and what's unusual about it is the chair recused himself, or so we thought, from the Russia investigation. He's issued a subpoena to the attorney general, who has also recused himself. So two people recused that are seeking documents are refusing to provide documents on an investigation, they're supposed to be uninvolved with.

But more than that, I think what is really at heart is an effort to discredit Mr. Steele, in essence, also, to put the government on trial as a way, I think, of distracting our focus from looking into what Russia did during the election.

DICKERSON: Mr. Steele being the author of that dossier.

SCHIFF: Yes.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about another development this week. Facebook turned over some information related to Russian efforts to influence the election.

What exactly did they turn over and why is it important?

SCHIFF: They're providing us with all of the commercials that Russia used on its platform. But I think what's important for people to know is there are a couple of real significant issues here.

One is, of course, the paid advertising, which was designed not only to help Donald Trump or hurt Hillary Clinton, but more fundamentally, to divide Americans, to pit one American against another on some very divisive issues.

It's the kind of cynical campaign you would expect of having a KGB operative running a country. There's a lot we don't know yet about it. I think we know only the minimum of the advertising. And, of course, advertising was only one method the Russians used on social media. And this was only one platform.

But there's also an issue about the use of Facebook's algorithms and the way it tends to potentially reinforce people's informational bias. And this is a problem that goes well beyond Russia, but in one example, for if you were looking or interested in an article about Hillary Clinton's health, would the Facebook algorithms result in your seeing a lot more stories about Hillary Clinton's health and reinforce a misperception or inaccurate information?

That is a far broader issue than Russia, but one that we really need to know a lot more about.

DICKERSON: And that's a Facebook problem, not a Russia problem. I mean that's a problem with their algorithm that keeps us all siloed in certain narrow areas.

SCHIFF: Yes. That -- there's certainly a Russian implication, because they used these algorithms to amplify misinformation or slant that information. But it's far broader and we have to ask, is this in our society's interests to create these informational silos?

DICKERSON: What's the impact, though, of these Russian Facebook ads? I mean is anybody saying that they had any influence on the election that changed the outcome in any possible way?

It seems a small amount to have done anything like that.

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, that small amount is only what Facebook has thus far confirmed came directly out of Russia. They have acknowledged that they haven't looked or analyzed or completed a report yet on advertising Russia may have done through third countries.

So Russia will use proxies in the Caucuses or other parts of Europe to potentially buy ads or amplify misinformation.

And, of course, this is just one platform the Russians were using. This has nothing to do with the Russian use of bots on Twitter.

So if you look at the full extent of Russian use of social media, was it, in any way, decisive, determinative?

Hard to say because we really have so little information thus far about the extent of Russian use of social media.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about some other news that came out this week.

There were reports that Paul Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign, was, in fact, wiretapped two different periods.

President Trump said, at one point in a Tweet, that Trump Tower was wiretapped. And he was pretty much ridiculed for that.

But now we have reporting that Paul Manafort was wiretapped. He had an apartment in Trump Tower.

So maybe the president was right.

SCHIFF: No, I don't think so at all. And, in fact, not only did Director Comey and Director Mike Rogers of NSA say there was no truth to the president being wiretapped at Trump Tower, but the Department of Justice recently confirmed that was false, as well.

I can't comment on whether Mr. Manafort was ever the subject of surveillance of any kind. Even if he were, though, that just doesn't justify or suggest that the president was wiretapped improperly by Barack Obama. So there's no truth to that.

I will say with respect to Manafort, though, the allegation that he was reaching out to Russian oligarchs close to Putin and suggesting that he would offer them useful information to them while he was campaign manager, at the very same time the Russians are reaching out to him to offer information on Hillary Clinton, that is of deep concern to us.

DICKERSON: But just going back to the president for a minute, I mean he said Trump Tower was wiretapped. And Manafort lives in Trump Tower. I mean it might not be precisely letter for letter what was going on, but it's a heck of a lot closer than what people were originally ridiculing the president for.

SCHIFF: Well, I think this is far from, you know, an issue of whether it was letter for letter. The president suggested that Barack Obama was illegally wiretapping him. If the Obama administration was engaged in legal surveillance of someone they believed may have been an agent of a foreign power, we should want the administration to do that and that's a far cry from the kind of illegal surveillance the president was suggesting.

DICKERSON: An important question about North Korea.

You oversee the intelligence community. Mike Morrell, the deputy director of the CIA, former, who's a CBS senior analyst, says the U.S. may not know, North Korea may be further along.

Do you worry that?

Further along in their nuclear program?

SCHIFF: I do worry about it. And we have imperfect version on what North Korea is doing. But we have to assume that in the near future, they're going to be able to marry that nuclear technology with their ICBM technology.

So whether we -- they're further ahead, we have to presume that may be true. And we need to act accordingly.

DICKERSON: All right, Congressman, thank you so much for being with us.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

DICKERSON: And we'll be right back.

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DICKERSON: And we'll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.

Stay with us.

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DICKERSON: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.

We turn now to the White House director of legislative affairs, Mark Short.

He is the liaison between the administration and Capitol Hill.

Marc, welcome to the broadcast.

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: John, thanks for having me.

DICKERSON: I want to pick up with something that Senator Collins said about preexisting conditions. She says they are not guaranteed in this legislation. The president, when we spoke to him in April said, this health care bill that passes will have a guarantee, but this one doesn't. So the president's OK with that?

SHORT: This one does, John. In fact, the Obamacare legislation required coverage of preexisting conditions. This legislation does not change that. So preexisting conditions continue to be covered.

DICKERSON: So those -- the critics of the bill say that's not the case. While the Obamacare protection may exist, states can opt out. So they can apply for a waiver. And then when they get that waiver, the terms that they have to meet are really fuzzy. And people who were involved in health care know that because it's really hard and they're going to have to squeeze out a lot of money, they'll take the path of least resistance, which means people with preexisting conditions will see less coverage and higher costs.

SHORT: OK. John, look, this system's not working. Everybody knows that. Every -- having Washington, D.C., as a -- as a central hub for this has failed. It's failed the American people and prices are going out the roof. In Arizona, prices have increased by 190 percent over four years. In Arizona -- I'm sorry, in Alaska, by 203 percent over the last four years.

To your question, we guarantee preexisting -- preexisting conditions continue to be covered. You're right that there is also an ability for states to apply for a waiver. But in that it's conditional for them showing how they will continue to make preexisting conditions covered on an affordable base. There's also federal dollars that are provided to help states to do that. But nobody can deny that costs right now are going through the roof.

DICKERSON: But leaving aside the -- there are plenty of problems with the bill, as people on both sides say.

SHORT: But on this question of preexisting conditions, the analysis from the AMA, from the AARP, from the Medicaid directors, they look at it and they say, what's going to happen is, the vagueness of this language, which says that a state can opt out if it applies -- if it offers an adequate and affordable alternative, that that is a huge hole through which states will increase cost, lower coverage for the most. We're talking here about the most vulnerable, people with pre-existing conditions. So if I'm out there with a preexisting condition and this is, of course, what Senator Collins was talking about, there's no back stop here. There's no guarantee. Some day down the road, it's going to -- it's going to get worse and people would like some kind of surety and all they hear is vague words about affordable and adequate.

SHORT: John, the current system is unsustainable. The Medicaid dollars are going to go bankrupt. They're continuing to predict a 6 percent increase annually that this country cannot afford. So it's no surprise that the special interests are opposed to it. The same special interests in those trade associations you mentioned went to bed with the Obama administration to force Obamacare on all Americans. Because why? Because it forced all Americans to have to have insurance, whether you want it or not, in an individual mandate, and all employers to force their employee -- to force coverage on all their employees. This is something that they like the current system and they want the government to continue to give more dollars. Now they're asking for bailouts on the CSR payments. That's what they want. That's not what's working for the American people. We need to change the system.

DICKERSON: But anybody with a pre-existing condition is not wrong to think that their cost might go up and their coverage might decrease.

SHORT: They will continue to be guaranteed coverage, John. That's what we've said. The law does not change that.

DICKERSON: But it might be quite different from the coverage they have now because of this -- this -- these -- this opt out that is (INAUDIBLE) --

SHORT: Likely the coverage they have now is not working. The system is not working. Coverage for millions of American is not working. That's why last year seven million people chose to pay the penalty instead of get the terrible insurance that's offered on the Obamacare exchanges. They don't want it.

DICKERSON: Well, those were people with preexisting conditions.

SHORT: Those are people that are saying --

DICKERSON: Those are healthy people.

SHORT: There's a mix of people who are saying they'd rather pay the penalty than have to pay the taxes.

DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the president's push for this. He spent 90 minutes in Alabama this week. He talked about a wide variety of issues. Why does the president, who's a marketer, who has some skills in that regard, not go 90 minutes on the benefits and beauties and wonders of this plan? He talked about how hard he was working. He has a list of people he's jaw boning. But why is he not out there selling this plan for all of its great merit? Is it because there are not merits that he can sell to his voters?

SHORT: No, I think he actually is selling it, John. I think that he's had many calls with those senators who are on the fence. He's continued to make calls through the weekend. And he -- you saw his activity in the first go around. So he's continuing to stay active (ph).

In reality, the whole Graham-Cassidy effort, it came apart -- it came -- it came to be because the first effort failed and a lot of our voters are saying, look, this isn't good enough. You promised us for years you would repeal this.

DICKERSON: But here's a president who's got -- I mean on the phone I'm sure he's got talent. But he's the rally guy. He's the 90 minutes whipping people up. He's talking about the NFL.

Today, now the owners and teams and everybody is responding to the president who says something on the NFL. Isn't that totally getting in the way of your effort to fix this health care issues and get every -- all the Republicans on board?

SHORT: No, the president's a huge asset to our effort on Capitol Hill. He's not getting in the way.

DICKERSON: But the NFL issue is a useful one in terms of health care?

SHORT: Look, I think the NFL one -- is an issue where the president has made a case that as we've talked about, there are coaches across this country at high school level who are penalized and disciplined for asking their -- leading their players in prayer, and yet you see an issue in the NFL where the media champions those who are taking a knee to disrespect the American flag. That's the dichotomy that most Americans can't understand, and for good reason. And the president's raising attention to that.

DICKERSON: But he raised attention to the -- not the prayer issue, but pointed it out to -- to players. I mean you mentioned the prayer, but he didn't mention the prayer.

SHORT: Well, he's making the case that in many cases these are -- there are generations of Americans who have fought and died to protect our freedoms and fought and died for the red on that flag that is -- that represents the blood that's been sacrificed by so many Americans. And what the president is doing is saying, this is not the appropriate place to raise your social activism. And I think he's made the case that you have a First Amendment right, if you wish, to protest the flag. But owners have a First Amendment right as well. Their First Amendment right to fire those players if they so choose.

DICKERSON: All right, Marc Short, we're going to have to leave it there. We're out of time. Thanks so much for being with us.

SHORT: John, thanks for having me.

DICKERSON: In the latest health care debates, you've probably heard the term regular order. John McCain said the lack of regular order is why he's not supporting the most recent bill.

Regular order is Washington jargon, but it basically means doing things the agreed upon way. At the bank you expect the line you stand in to order the turns of those waiting for the teller. When you visit the DMV and the rules change each time, you feel a glowing rage.

In Congress, regular order is the process for tackling tough problems, studying them, applying expertise and then arguing the issues on the merits without personal attacks. It's also a mindset for a place where everyone has to work together the next day. It sets the conditions for heated arguments, so everyone feels heard and respected. It ground debates in the values of the institution, fairness, equality, justice, which temper the passions of the moment.

Regular order doesn't always lead to compromise, but compromise is less likely without it. Regular order doesn't always mean less partisanship. Partisan hot head can still hijack the public process. But without regular order, people get suspicious of the final product. Losers feel cheated and invited to undermine the law.

If laws are to be followed, it's odd to pass them in a process that says the rules don't matter. But if voters want the compromise available through regular order, they have to be patient. It's messy, slow and imprecise. It was designed that way.

In most formal meetings, if proceedings descend into chaos, a participant can get things back on track by shouting "regular order." Though people may not know the term, they have been calling for it in Congress for a long time.

Back in a moment.

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DICKERSON: And we now want to bring in Dr. Atul Gawande of "The New Yorker," who asks, is health care a right in this week's issue of the magazine out tomorrow.

Welcome.

You, for this piece, went back home to report on health care. Why?

ATUL GAWANDE, "THE NEW YORKER": So, back home for me is in southeastern Ohio. And I wept back home because this is a territory that I grew up in a blue dot (ph), Athens, Ohio, in the middle of a red sea that went for Trump. And my friend -- I went and spoke to them to ask them with they thought. Do they believe health care is a right. And a surprising number said no. Even friends who had been bankrupted by health care cost, because they believe that it was really a way to ask them to pay more for other people while they couldn't afford their health care cost. So they weren't hearing that it was a way to help them.

DICKERSON: Now, in the debate we're in, in this moment, I just want to step back a minute. We're not even asking really that question, are we? I mean over say Graham-Cassidy, that's just not being asked, is it?

GAWANDE: That's right. It's disconnected from the goals and the troubles that -- that people have now. You know, the -- the criticisms on -- on the show are legitimate. You know, the people I talked to, friends who are still earning less than $20 an hour after 20 years in a job are spending half their paycheck in for taxes and paying for a premium for crappy insurance that's $3,000 deductible, $50 copay, and meanwhile their taxes go to pay for someone who may not be working, who has Medicaid coverage that is better than anything they could dream of. No copays, no deductibles, no premiums.

Now the -- the interesting thing to me, though, was, that they distrusted the government to solve this problem. But they also were strong supporters of Medicare.

DICKERSON: OK.

GAWANDE: And understood perfectly well that it was a government program. The key thing that they saw was that Medicare wasn't about a right, it was about the idea that we all contribute, we all pay our taxes in, and we all benefit and benefit fairly. And right now, for what we see is everybody gets an astonishingly different deal for something as important as their health care, their health and survival.

DICKERSON: So essentially the difference is Medicare, no free loaders, because everybody's got to pitch in and they're worried about the free loader problem?

GAWANDE: That's right. And -- and that everybody is in the same deal. The -- the broken part of a system, the thing that we don't talk about is that the link that we have made, that you get your health care through work, is breaking. That link is breaking because it leads to very different deals. We have to create all these systems for, what if you're disabled, what if you're in a small business and can't afford it, what if your employer doesn't cover you, what if you're self-employed.

The second reason it's breaking, 94 percent of net job growth since -- in the last decade is in jobs that are -- that don't come with health benefits. It's freelancers and temporary workers, independent contractors.

DICKERSON: So given the reporting you've done and these differing views, as you said, even people who have been bankrupted and had to scratch for five years to get back on the right side of an illness, is there a solution, a bridge that you found between the different groups?

GAWANDE: Well, the fact that people see in Medicare their values being enacted suggests our pathway forward. The critical parts of it is building trust in order for that bridge to get there. So what people don't talk about -- you know, what one person said to me is, the left doesn't talk about the cost, and the right doesn't talk about the need. And none of them want to talk about, how do we transition to getting there.

There are approaches you can do -- you can transition to making sure that outside of work you can get coverage through Medicare. You have a state like Nevada that -- that passed but the governor vetoed letting people buy into Medicaid. Or you could say, healthcare.gov, make that the open system that we can all buy into, pay into and share equally in being able to get that kind of coverage.

We have to stabilize -- I agree with both the Republican and Democratic view that you need a bipartisan effort to stabilize the current system. Now it's actually straight forward ways to do that. In the Senate, Alexander and Patty Murray effort to make that happen is a critical first step.

But then you have to build and do the thing we're not doing now. The message I heard from people is that it's the public debate and also the public hearing process around solutions like allowing buy-in or transitioning to allow states to -- to make this passageway.

DICKERSON: Help people understand what stabilize means for the Affordable Care Act, because they may not understand what that means and why that's important.

GAWANDE: Yes, I mean, all the thing that people are pointing to right now, premiums are going up. Why are they going up? Because the insurers are uncertain. Are -- is -- is the government going to enforce the mandate? Is there going to be subsidies to ensure that people who can't afford their deductibles, that they aren't bankrupted along the way? Those basic components haven't been nailed down. There's total uncertainty what's supposed to happen. And making -- providing some certainty brings the premiums down.

There have also been programs that people have tried, everywhere from Minnesota to Alaska, that have allowed for re-insurance plans that allow for the very high cost patients to not end up driving up the costs of a single insurer. So there are some technical approaches that allow to you smooth out the cost and stabilize where we are now.

It clearly, though, is the -- the only the beginning pathway to being able to open up the system that deals with the fact that job based coverage is breaking.

DICKERSON: Final question. You've mentioned a lot of different states, Minnesota, Nevada. I know you've written about different efforts in Wisconsin. This is the Republican argument, that the federalism let 50 experiments bloom and let that work. So it sound like there's nothing that that may be a good approach.

GAWANDE: There's nothing inherently wrong with that. You know, I look at this. I'm a -- I'm a surgeon. I have mainly a cancer practice. Before reform, one in ten of my patients were uninsured. And then after they had their diagnosis they now ran into having preexisting condition exclusions. I, since reform, have seen no patients who face that problem anymore. Zero.

Now, any of the approaches that we have, whether we want to push it to the states or want to -- and say the federal government's going to get out of their responsibility, but hold the states to certain standard, or that we're going to try to open up Medicare more widely, any of those approaches need to insure that we are clear about the -- a line around the core value of people we're talking about.

What are the cost to everybody? Are we sharing in the burden equally? And then how are we transitioning so we don't hurt people along the way. We are at risk in every plan that has come forward right now. We end up making people in the system worse off in the name of supposedly making it better.

DICKERSON: All right, Atul Gawande, thank you so much for being with us.

And we'll be back in a moment with our panel.

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DICKERSON: Joining us now for some political analysis, CBS News senior foreign affairs and White House correspondent Margaret Brennan, and "Washington Post" White House reporter David Nakamura.

David, let me start with you.

We'll start with NFL. It's Sunday. Is this just President Trump being President Trump? What -- how -- what do you make of this?

DAVID NAKAMURA, "WASHINGTON POST": Look, I mean he picks fights with a lot of people, but we saw he did this in his speech in Alabama where he was purportedly down there to endorse the Senate candidate Luther Strange. But it got a great, you know, a rise from the audience.

And, you know, what struck me is that it's one thing to -- he picks a fight with the NFL over Colin Kaepernick, which sends a certain kind of signal. And the next day he amplifies that by attacking Steph Curry And I was just looking at the sales of jerseys, Steph Curry is the most popular player in the NBA when it comes to sales of jerseys. So this is a player who has broad support. You know, Colin Kaepernick is a controversial figure, but now he's sort of expanded that much broadly and you see the sort of backlash. Now you have even the owners of the teams that have supported Trump, like Robert Kraft of the Patriots, and it's not clear what Trump's end game is here in picking this broad a fight.

DICKERSON: Right.