Obamacare's fate; Turkey ID's Attack Suspect; The Cost of $15 Min Wage; The Next Star Wars Spin-off; The Fate of Obamacare; Russian Hacking



Wage; The Next Star Wars Spin-off; The Fate of Obamacare; Russian Hacking

Allegations; Profit From Experience; Manson Seriously Ill; Roping a Rogue

Calf; Harrelson in New Star Wars?; Turkey Terror Investigation. A closer

look at how Trump is using the social media platforms to govern; The true

cost of the fight for 15; And we begin this half hour with the fate of

Obamacare; A commuter train on the Long Island Railroad derailed - Part 2>

Saltsman, Morgan Ortagus, Lee Carter, Morgan Ortagus , Kevin Kelly, Lee

Carter; Marsha Blackburn >



KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FORMER SECRETARY: If indeed, the congress moves ahead, the Republicans and congress, and repeals a law with no certainty about a replacement and there is no replacement plan, I don't care if they say we promise we will have a plan within the next two or three years, no insurance company will participate.


MCDOWELL: I've reference that, but I want to get your response because, again, sounds like these Democrats are trying to scare the American people about what Republicans want to do.

BARRASSO: Well, I agree with you, Dagen. These people -- do seem to be scare tactics to scare patience. But patience know differently, they know what Obamacare has done is broken all the promises that President Obama made in terms of raising costs, in terms of raising copays, in terms of keeping policies, all of those things have proven to be false. We want to make sure that patients have freedom, and flexibility, and choice, and it's not only about coverage as a doctor, it's about care. It's about making sure people can get healthcare, to have empty coverage doesn't do a lot for people. And as you said in that interview, earlier, today, over half of the people that they're counting have signed up for Medicaid, which is a program that is broken in so many states. If we want to help people on Medicaid, you need to let the states make the decision of what's right for them. And that's why I'm so glad that Mike Pence is vice president, will be vice president of the United States, he knows as a governor and as a former member of congress that there are things that states can do much better. The handcuffs are taken off so that they could make the decision that work best in those states.

MCDOWELL: Senator, here's Kevin Kelly.

KEVIN KELLY, RECON CAPITAL CIO: So, senator, we know that the affordable care act is ironic in name because it didn't lower costs, it didn't improve access as well as, you know, the benefit got worse, but what are Republicans actually going to do? What is the plan or policy to attack those three things that have failed miserably at? Because right now I hear repeal, replace, but I'm not hearing anything really substantive of how Republicans are actual going to do that? Are there certain plans that you can talk about, or policies that will take effect?

BARRASSO: Well, certainly, you know, Tom Price has been nominated to be the secretary of health and human services, he's a physician and orthopedic surgeon, as opposed to Kathleen Sebelius who you had on previously, who then at one time was a lobbyist for the trial lawyer. If you want a lobbyist for the trial lawyers, and she is the one that wrote tens of thousands of pages of regulations that made Obamacare even more costly and more complicated. So now we have a physician in there who introduced his own healthcare plan in congress, year after year, about putting patients in charge. Focusing on healthcare and getting the decisions to be made back locally. Let states decide what insurance qualify is to be -- let's people decide about what insurance is best for them and their families.

KELLY: Will this include all forms of insurance, so is it going to open up the marketplace where people can buy disaster insurance because that's the problem right now, there's certain mandated insurance, you have to buy certain coverage you need, is it going to legalize all forms of insurance?

BARRASSO: Well, number one, it is going to eliminate the mandate that you have to buy government approved insurance. In Wyoming, I hear from so many people who had insurance that worked for them, and they lost it because President Obama said it wasn't good enough for him. He shouldn't be able to -- government, Washington, shouldn't be able to say what's good for you and your family, you ought to have the ability to make that decision for yourself. And those are the things that Republicans are going to continue to fight for. But it seems like from the interview with Kathleen Sebelius, and what I heard from Chuck Schumer and Democrats is, they're not willing to work with us. They want things to fail. We want to actually provide healthcare for people.

MCDOWELL: No, they think it works except for prices. They really the -- takeaway from speaking with Kathleen Sebelius is they don't really see anything wrong with what's done, you just need more government, not less -- more government and less choice for the American people. The one-third -- because she talked about the fact and you mentioned this senator about a third of counties have blue cross, blue shield, as the sole insurer, and in many instances where there is competition, the competition is a Medicaid managed care plan.

BARRASSO: And we know that Medicaid in so many places doesn't work. One of the places it works the best is in, actually, Indiana, where Mike Pence is governor, fought for and got a number of waivers from the government so he could do it a way that for worked for Indiana. We tried in Wyoming to get those waivers, they were rejected. But with Tom Price as head of health and human services, we think we're going to have much more opportunity at a state level to help more people at a much lower cost because then you're not dealing with all of these Washington regulations and mandates, so much of the cost is just trying to comply with Washington as opposed to actually providing healthcare to people.

MCDOWELL: Senator, great to see you. Thank you so much.

BARRASSO: Thanks, Dagen. Thanks for having me.

MCDOWELL: It's going to be a busy year for you, Senator John Barrasso. Coming up, governing a 140 characters or less, Stuart Varney weighs in on President-elect Donald Trump using twitter as he prepared to take the oath of office. The restaurant industry burned by minimum wage increases, how restaurateurs are grappling with the added costs.


MCDOWELL: Welcome back. We are almost 45 minutes away from the opening bell, about 15 seconds from there. Take a close look at some stocks on the move this morning, AT&T announcing collaboration with a dozen partners, including Intel and QUALCOMM to test 5G residential and business services, the high speed network testing its AT&T's latest move to keep up with Verizon competitive services. Shares of AT&T are up 24 percent over the last year.

Amazon still on the holiday spirit, the online retailer announcing this morning that it shipped 50 percent more items for third-party vendors over the holiday season compared to a year ago. This after it called 2016 it's best ever shopping season, shares of Amazon up slightly in premarket trading. President-elect Donald Trump taking the oval office to Twitter, carrying out his campaign promises to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. all within 140 characters. Stuart Varney is here to weigh in, Mr. Varney, I know that you like this.

STUART VARNEY, VARNEY & CO. HOST: Well, I'm astonished by it actually. You know, I always thought it was Democrats who had a lock on technology and how to influence the voters. And all of a sudden, Donald Trump appears, and in a 140 characters dictates policy right from the top, goes over the head of absolutely everybody, and it does have an effect. Remember, Dagen, this time, yesterday, I think it was right about now, 24 hours ago, Donald Trump tweeted out a criticism of General Motors for building their small cars, or some of their small cars, in Mexico, and saying, look, you want to bring them back hear, there's a big tax waiting for you. That went out about 24 hours ago. Within hours, Ford Motor Company said, OK, OK, we cry uncle, we're not going to build that $1.6 billion plant in Mexico, and going to divert some of the money to another plant in Michigan, where we'll build electric cars and autonomous cars. That's the direct effect of President-elect Trump pressuring business in a very, very new kind of way. And I think at the end of the day, he won that one, Ford caved, they're bringing some money back to America. I'm just fascinated by this. And one more thing, I'm fascinated by the response of the media and the left, they are apoplectic, right over their heads. I kind of think it's funny.

MCDOWELL: You know, I -- just yesterday, Donald Trump understands what the American people want, it's why he got elected, but yesterday what was the Republicans were trying to do with the ethics office? He came out and said, what are you doing, on twitter?

VARNEY: Yes, knock it all off

MCDOWELL: It was astonishing.

VARNEY: Yeah, just like that, the house ethics people some say, oh, we're going to rearrange things. I think it's within minutes, Trump tweeted that knock it off, you're not going to do that, and they didn't, they retreated.

MCDOWELL: Tax reform, healthcare, get your priority straight. It looks -- you know he understand optics better than even President Obama, and he said, what are you doing, this looks really stupid.

VARNEY: I'm just waiting to see if you could tweet the reform or repeal of Obamacare in a 140 characters.


VARNEY: I mean, I think -- yes, you can, you can say repeal it and do it now, you can do that. But you can't get into the nitty-gritty of how you repeal it and what you replace it with.

MCDOWELL: I can't wait for him to start tweeting though about individual congressmen or individual senators when they're dragging their feet about something and not getting onboard saying, you know what, to the constituents of so and so, you're not getting a pay increase. You know, he wants to keep more of your tax money because you know that's going to happen.

VARNEY: Dagen, that's very interesting. I see you recovered your venom after your unfortunately delay at the airport the other night. You had enough sleep, and now you're back in fine form, Dagen, it's great to see.

MCDOWELL: Yes, thank you, Mr. Varney. Varney & Co., as always starts at 9:00 AM, Monday through Friday, he is coming up in almost exactly -- well about 11 1/2 minutes. Stuart, great to see you as always. But, first here, we're going to talk about minimum wage hikes taking the bite out of the bottom lines at restaurants, and how owners of restaurants are coping with those changes.


MCDOWELL: The cost of minimum wage hikes, 19 states including Colorado, California, Connecticut, increasing their minimum wage at the start of the New Year. And our next guest warns more cities may do the same in a Wall Street Journal op-ed call the fight for 15, coming to a city hall near you. Let's bring in Michael Saltsman, employment policies institute research director. Michael, I said this all along, once a few cities starting passing that $15 minimum wage, it was San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, that that was going to become kind of the standard for the left. What is it doing to restaurants in those places where we've seen it so far?

MICHAEL SALTSMAN, EMPLOYMENT POLICIES INSTITUTE RESEARCH DIRECTOR: What it's doing is creating a tremendous amount of hardship, and it's actually leaving quite a bit of carnage in its wake. We see now over 30 cities and municipalities have their own local minimum wage requirements, some in California as high as $13 an hour right now, you compare that to the historical minimum wage standard of about $7.40. So it's quite high, and what we're seeing is customers are not necessarily willing to pay for it, even in wealthier markets like in the Bay Area, where I think people assume that a higher minimum wage was more palatable. At end of the year, some newspaper had described this as a death march. There have been so many restaurant closures out there. And so I think what some business owners are able to do is adapt and do things like automate, but for others business owners, especially the smaller guys, what it means is that their business model doesn't work anymore.

MCDOWELL: I know in some areas -- in some places that restaurants have done away with tipping, and because the tips don't count towards the minimum that's required by the local legislation or the local law, so they really -- that -- people who works in restaurants who are service -- they don't want to work in places where they can't earn tips.

SALTSMAN: That's right. I think we've seen from some news stories this past year that when restaurants do eliminate tipping, servers more than anyone then to revolt because they loss quite a bit of income. There was a recent story, actually, nationally renowned restaurant in the San Francisco closed after five years, and the owners went through the numbers and said in 2012, before taxes he was earning about an 8.5 percent profit margin, by 2015 he was earning 1.5 percent. That's what happens when you raise the minimum wage dramatically, especially in an environment with no tip credit. And, again, customers don't pay for that, either business owners got to find another way to adapt by reducing staff and levels or they have to close.

MCDOWELL: Why -- answer this. The fight for 15 campaign that we've seen a lot of the protests, they're funded by unions. Unions are funneling money to this. Union workers if they unionized, theoretically, will get paid more than the minimum wage, so why then are the unions behind it, because it gives them negotiated leverage with these large chains potentially? If you have a $15 minimum wage the unions get a waiver, and they can go to a McDonald's and say, hey, you unionize, we'll get you lower than 15, what's behind all of this?

SALTSMAN: There are a couple reasons -- you're right, that for some unions it is self-interest in the past, especially the hotel unions have used that tactic. For some unions, you know, let's say represents janitorial services, they may have members who actually receive a raise. But for other unions, they view this as a new source of dues paying members, I mean, private sectors union membership is down and out or near historic lows, so they view the push for a $15 minimum wage as a means to create value.

MCDOWELL: Michael, thank you for being here, Michael Saltsman, terrific, please come back.


MCDOWELL: And we have breaking news here in New York, a commuter train on the Long Island Railroad derailed, the derailment is near at the Atlantic Avenue Station in Brooklyn, more than a dozen injuries have been reported. You're looking at some pictures here from New York City from the scene. We will bring you the latest developments as they come in. So a train derailment in Brooklyn in New York City, a commuter train, injuries have been reported. And coming up, we'll have some final thoughts from all our all-star.


MCDOWELL: And more on that breaking news from here in New York City. These are pictures coming in from Brooklyn, New York. There, a commuter train on the Long Island Railroad derailed. The derailment is near the Atlantic Avenue Station in Brooklyn. There are reports say that 18 injuries have been reported so far. Clearly, it will cause problems with the commute into New York City. Those trains on the Long Island Railroad come into Penn Station right here in the heart of Manhattan. But, again, a Long Island Railroad commuter train derailing in Brooklyn, injuries reported here in New York City. Fox business will be carrying more information on this as the morning moves on. But there's so much to cover and I thank Morgan Ortagus, Kevin Kelly, and Lee Carter for being here all morning, particularly talking about a repeal and replace Obamacare, that's going to be front and center today. But guess what? Front and center right now, Stuart Varney, Varney & Co. You're up, Stuart.


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