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Lanhee Chen On The Senate Healthcare Bill

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Lanhee Chen and Avik Roy are the center-right’s biggest brains on health care.  Both are in favor of the Senate bill as it exists but both see additional compromises coming and will support what the political institution of the Senate passes.  But as my Washington Post column stresses this morning, the Senate GOP must pass a bill and do so this week.  Here is my conversation with Lanhee:




HH: One of the most important weeks in American modern political history has begun. The Supreme Court will hand down a decision in Trinity Lutheran which will decide the future of religious freedom in America, Justice Kennedy may step down, and the Senate Republicans are considering a bill which in my opinion they must absolutely pass after it has been molded and shaped through a week of negotiations. Joining me to discuss this latter is Lanhee Chen, who is of course the fellow, the David and Diane Steffy fellow at the Hoover Institution. Follow him @LanheeChen. He along with Avik Roy are the two big guns of the health care debate that are speaking to this. Lanhee, good morning, thank you for being up early to talk to me, you’re out in California. What is your assessment of where the Senate bill stands today?

LC: Well Hugh, good morning, I’m actually in New York City, and congratulations on a great debut on Saturday. That was fantastic.

HH: Oh, thank you. Mike Pompeo knows what he’s doing.

LC: Well, you do, too. And it was great. So on this bill coming up this week, you know, I think that we’ve been through a lot of different cycles on this now. And we had the House bill, obviously that the House bill, you know, had some challenges. But I still thought that was the right thing to do. The Senate bill’s actually an improvement on it in a lot of ways. And I really hope that people will take a good, hard look at some of the provisions in there that I do think ultimately are going to help bring down premiums particularly for the middle class. I do think that it’s going to still provide a good measure of assistance for people on Medicaid. Clearly, it tries to put some fiscal constraint around that program which is growing rapidly, in fact, growing faster than our economy. And actually, I think this bill will be an improvement. Not perfect, again, but I do think it’s a step forward, and I hope it moves forward in the Senate this week.

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Natural Disaster

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Near the top of a mountain in Colorado, just above timberline, is a small chalet.  Outside of that Chalet stands a cross and on that cross are the words “Be still, and know that I am God.”  I still remember the first time I was there like it was yesterday.  It was actually 1971, but the memory is so fresh.  I was a camper at Young Life’s Silver Cliff camp coming from Indianapolis, IN.  The highest point in Indiana is a little over 600 feet above sea level, and here I was standing a bit over 10,000 feet ASL with the Arkansas river valley on one side and the collegiate peaks on the other.  It was spectacular.  The Psalms quotation was perfect – such grandeur could not help but remind one of God.

Nature has a way of doing that – even nature in the negative.  When I read of the Chinese landslide yesterday I was horrified by the loss of life, but awestruck by the force of nature involved.  If such things do not make us mindful of our relative insignificance, and therefore longing for a benevolent God, then there is something very wrong with us. I wonder sometimes if the urban and man-controlled nature of so many of our lives does not contribute to the decline of religiosity in the nation.  I know a lot of people that have never allowed themselves to be subjected to nature in such fashion.  It is another bubble.

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo

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I interviewed CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his first sit down with a national network since being confirmed to run the Central Intelligence Agency. Two-thirds of the interview appeared Saturday morning at 8 AM EST on the all-new Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC.  The complete audio and transcript of the conversation is below:

Here is the audio of the full interview, including portions that didn’t make it to air on MSNBC due to the limits of time:


And here is the full transcript of the entire interview:

HH: CIA Director Mike Pompeo, thank you for joining me today.

MP: It’s great to be with you, Hugh.

HH: Let’s start with the Washington Post on Friday – extensive piece that alleges that the Agency has intelligence confirming that Russian President Putin had a direct involvement and direction of the attack on our election. Can you confirm that?

MP: I can’t talk about the details of the intelligence, but we have, the intelligence community has said, that this election was meddled with by the Russians in a way that is frankly not particularly original. They’ve been doing this for an awfully long time. And we are decades into the Russians trying to undermine American democracy. So in some ways, there’s no news, but it certainly puts a heightened emphasis on our ability to figure out how to stop them.

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