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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Final Health Care Push; Rains Swamp Haiti; Faith over Medicine

Aired March 19, 2010 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, again.

Tonight, "Keeping them Honest" on health care, President Obama making his final push for health care reform. Votes, changing almost as we speak; voices rising in Congress, stakes high for everyone. We've got the latest on the vote count.

We also have Dr. Sanjay Gupta on what is in the bill for you if it passes. How is your insurance going to change this year?

And we check the facts. Republicans say the president hasn't really tried to be bipartisan in this bill, but have the Republicans tried? We are "Keeping them Honest" tonight.

Also ahead, a deluge of rain in Haiti and the difficulties for so many homeless Haitians just got a whole worst. We're going to talk to Sean Penn. Who is right now are working on the very muddy ground there, trying to find out where things now stand from him.

And later, what if I told you there was a secretive religious sect in America which allowed kids to die because the religion doesn't believe in medicine? More than a dozen dead kids so far all connected to the church. It is stunning that this is happening in this country. Tonight, we uncover the truth.

But first up tonight, "Keeping them Honest": less than 48 hours to go now until Sunday's vote on health care reform. And right now, minute to minute, Democrats are battling for each and every yes vote. The outcome could make history or President Obama's presidency could become history.

The political stakes are high. The stakes for one sixth of the economy, 31 million people without health insurance. The budget, all of it, could not be higher.

And what is so amazing, is that after all this time, all this money and all this talk, no one can tell you for sure right now how this is going to go on Sunday.

President Obama was looking and sounding confident today at a rally in George Mason University in Northern Virginia. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And right now, we are at the point where we are going to do something historic this weekend. That's what this health care vote is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He's going to meet with Democratic lawmakers tomorrow afternoon, TEA partiers planning a rally as well, and Republicans vowing to fight this bill every step of the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: The American people are going to hear about every pay off, every kickback and sweetheart deal that had gone into this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, we've been telling you all week about the sweetheart deals being made by Democrats. So tonight, we want to look at the Republicans, "Keeping them Honest". Did they try to meet the president half way?

Well, before that, I just want to take you over to the wall and take a look at some numbers.

Let's look at where the count is right now; the race to get to 216 votes to either pass or kill the bill, 216. So now, the New York Times is saying at this point right now they have 203 yes votes; 204 no votes and 24 Congressmen and women right in the middle.

Now, let's take look at what "THE WASHINGTON POST" is reporting over here. They say 179 yes votes, 207 no's and 45 right in the middle. And then CNN, our reporting is saying right here, 200 -- more than 200 yes, about 208 no. Not sure how many undecided at this point.

And finally, look at this. This is sort of interesting. This is an in-trade. You can actually invest in the outcome of votes. A share of Obama care passing now stands at about 84, which means that they think there's an 84 percent chance of the bill becoming law. It was about 40 percent all the way at the start of the year.

On Capitol Hill tracking it all, Dana, so where do things stand right now?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Democratic lawmakers, especially those who are undeclared they've now had about a day to read the changes to the senate and to get a sense of the cost estimates. And so many of them, today, came off the fence and they chose sides.

And look, a handful of previously no Democrats, Democrats who've voted no on the House health care bill in November, they did switch. So the House Democratic leadership -- they are feeling like they have in the words of one, the big mo and they have momentum because some of those lawmakers said that they like this bill better because of the cost, because of other issues.

But the reality is that a number of Democrats also switched the other way. And more importantly, there are still, at this hour, Anderson, several who simply still have outstanding issues. And that's why there are still meetings going on as we speak tonight on a number of issues from small regional issues to very big ones.

COOPER: Well, the bill's language about abortion and more specifically taxpayer funding for abortion is probably the biggest hurdle and one the Democratic leadership --

BASH: Yes.

COOPER: -- doesn't seem to be able to put behind them. There are meetings this evening, I mean, what have they decided? Is there something they can do about this?

BASH: Nothing decided yet. But here I am in the House chamber. And right down this hall that's where the House Speaker's office is, Nancy Pelosi. Meetings just wrapped up not too long ago about this issue of abortion and it is absolutely like deja vu.

This is exactly what happened before House voted back in November there was an 11th hour big problem on the issue of abortion. And specifically, what's going on is that anti-abortion Democrats led by Bart Stupak of Michigan, they are once again demanding a vote on more restrictive language when it comes to taxpayer funding.

And I've got to tell you, I saw the faces of some of the abortion rights Democrats, especially the women. They were meeting with Nancy Pelosi earlier. They are furious because the leadership is considering giving them a vote because politically they feel that they might have to do it. It's just procedurally unclear how it will work. It's not resolved -- Anderson.

COOPER: And I want to play for our viewers Dana, this exchange that happened on the House floor. It was an exchange over a memo which turned out to be fake but was read anyway on the House floor by a Republican. It got very angry reaction from the Democrat Anthony Weiner. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Will the gentleman from New Jersey kindly inform the House the source of the memo that he just read from? That silence that you hear is the gentleman from New Jersey read from a fake memo, a fraudulent memo. He's been zoomed with a fake document.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker -- Mr. Speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman, we'll suspend -- for what purposes the gentleman on the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd like to -- a parliamentary inquiry.

WEINER: I don't yield for that purpose. I don't yield for that purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not asking you to yield.

WEINER: That's the fact. That's nothing we're hiding from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentlemen, yield?

WEINER: I will yield if only for the purpose of telling us source of the documents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I mean, this clearly, things are incredibly polarized right now.

BASH: Ugly. I mean, they are absolutely ugly. We've known for some time that Republicans, there's no way that they would vote for this bill. But we also have seen an escalation in rhetoric and in tension over the past week as this vote has gotten closer between the parties.

And anybody who is tuning in tomorrow to watch this debate in the committee and more specifically the big debate on Sunday will be -- probably not be surprised after they saw that to see really how intense it's going to be.

And Anderson, the Republicans are already saying that they're going to use whatever tactics they have --

COOPER: Yes.

BASH: To try to delay this. Because they know politically, that's beneficial for them.

COOPER: Dana thanks very much.

Now, "Keeping them Honest", Republicans has been saying that this bill is being rammed down the throats of Americans and the president was never serious about bipartisanship. But have the Republicans been serious?

Ed Henry tonight, "Keeping them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bipartisanship sure sounds good on TV.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: I don't know anybody in my Republican conference in the Senate who is in favor of doing nothing on health care. We obviously have a cost problem or we have an access problem.

HENRY: But for Republicans on health care, bipartisanship in practice has been something else entirely.

OBAMA: To those whose claim to power --

HENRY: "Keeping them Honest", we went all the way back to the first month of the Obama administration to find Republicans have demanded the president meet them in the middle with one change after another. And despite the president giving in on those issues, Republicans have not met them half way starting with their demand that Mr. Obama not offer a giant plan like Bill Clinton.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This health care --

MCCONNELL: I think we would all agree to handing down of a health care plan during the Clinton years didn't work too well.

HENRY: The president listened to that advice and let Congress draw the details of the plan. That brought anger from liberals. And the Republicans who demanded the change -- nothing but continued opposition.

Republicans also insisted the public option had to be taken out. And after a long struggle, it was dropped. That brought more anger from liberals, but again no votes from Republicans.

Perhaps most frustrating to the White House, Republicans have repeatedly said they're in favor of basic insurance reform like ending pre-existing conditions.

MCCONNELL: Many of these insurance reforms, we could pass on a bipartisanship basis. Put you wouldn't have to cut Medicare by a half a trillion dollars or levy a half a trillion dollar tax increase. Put that on the side and let's talk about insurance reform.

HENRY: But those insurance reforms are in the bill now; still not a single Republican senator supported it. None of this was lost on the president as he made his final pitch.

OBAMA: The toughest insurance reforms in history and by the way, when you talk to Republicans and you say well, are you against this? A lot of them will say no, no, that part is ok.

HENRY: So with all the negotiations, all the concessions, how many Republicans are expected to vote for the bill this weekend? Zero.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So how do the Republicans explain all of this?

HENRY: Well, you know, they say, look. Look at the fact that this weekend Democrats are going with Democratic only votes and yet, they can't get even get their caucuses in line without all these arm twisting that Dana was talking about.

And so Republicans believe it shows that when you can't get conservative to moderate Democrats onboard without special deals that we've talking about the last couple of nights and without this last minute arm twisting it shows that while some concessions have been made with the Republican, the vast majority of this legislation has not dramatically changed, and it has mostly been written by Democrats.

And the fact is, you know, conservative Democrats are still not aboard. They are still trying to get them at this 11th hour -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed, "Keeping Them Honest."

Ed thanks.

John King and 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta are going to join us, next. John has the political prognosis for all the sides if this thing passes or fails.

And Sanjay has the changes that we're going to see almost immediately if the bill becomes law -- now, important information if you've got a preexisting condition.

Join the live chat right now. Let us know what you think at AC360.com.

We're also going to be talking with Sean Penn tonight, who is in Haiti on the ground where the rainy season is getting under way, and well, a lot of people are just in desperate straits right now.

And later, a former member speaks out about the religious group she once belonged to where followers choose health -- faith healing over medicine and kids are dying because of it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So, we've laid out what happens tomorrow, President Obama's last pitch to Democrats on health care reform, then on Sunday, of course, the vote. Then what?

In a moment, we're going to talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the changes you're going to start seeing if the bill passes.

First, though, let's look at what is at stake politically for a lot of very nervous lawmakers and for President Obama, who is betting, of course, a big chunk of his presidency on this vote.

Joining us now is John King, host of "John King USA", a new program premiering Monday 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN. John, these Blue Dog Democrats and others who are on the fence, a lot of them are facing some tough races this fall. How much risk do they take if they vote yes?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is an enormous risk, Anderson, given the political climate now.

The question for them, as some of them start to come over to the yes column: two conservative Democrats from Florida did that today; a conservative Democrat from southern Indiana who once to run for Senate, Brad Ellsworth, did that today. What risky decisions, because the political climate right now suggests that could cost them their job, or in Congressman Ellsworth's case, his future ambitions to move up to the Senate.

What they are banking on, with over the next seven months and a couple of weeks, that if they can pass this bill, the sense that Washington finally did something will overwhelm the objections to the bill about how much it costs or how much it might increase government influence.

They are gambling that they can change a climate that right now is not in their favor in those seven months. But boy, that's a big gamble.

COOPER: And if they vote no, some of them have liberal groups, labor unions promising to mount primary challenges against them.

KING: And that is part -- precisely part of their calculation in the sense that labor unions have made clear: You need our money. You need our foot soldiers. You need our votes in November. And if you don't come our way, you won't get them. And guess what? You're not going to get the Republicans.

If you stay out of this, the Republicans still are not likely to vote for you.

So, that is the hardball politics the progressive organizations like the labor movements are using, calling these Democrats, saying, what are you going to gain from voting no? Republicans won't vote for you. And guess what? We only -- not only won't vote you, we will give you no resources in a year when you desperately need them.

COOPER: How does this change the game in Washington politically for the president, if it passes?

KING: The calculation at the White House, Anderson, is, yes, the climate is not good for him now. But they believe part of it is not objections to the specifics of the health care bill.

They believe a lot of it is the sense out there, especially among independent voters, that these guys can't get along and they can't pass anything; that you have a Democratic president and big Democratic majorities. Why can't they lead? Why can't they govern?

So, the calculation at the White House is that a victory, signing legislation, legislation that eliminates insurance companies from throwing people out with pre-existing conditions, or throwing them out if they develop illnesses, that those couple of popular items, plus just the basic perception Washington is finally doing things, again, will create a more positive climate and overwhelm some of the objections that you know Republicans are making, that it costs too much and gives too much power to Washington.

COOPER: I talked to Congressman Kucinich two days ago, when he changed his vote to vote yes on this --

KING: Right.

COOPER: -- after talking to the president.

And essentially, one of the things that seemed to weighed heavily with him is that the president's history is on the line. I mean, the president's ability to function from here on out is on the line and that weighed heavily on him and influenced his vote.

Do you think that factors in for a lot of Democrats right now?

KING: Absolutely. And the way Congressman Kucinich put it was quite fascinating. He wants a single-payer system or at least a public option.

And he says you know what? I'm not getting nearly what I want here. But the president made the case to me about how critical this is to him and his influence. If you want to go down the road, climate change will come up. Some tax changes might come up. Other big issues will come up.

The president is personalizing this, saying to the Democratic Party, "We need to prove we can lead. And if I lose this vote, we're going to have a lonely time between now and the reelection campaign in 2012."

And the president's case is: If I lose so much influence, if I lose so much clout and stature, you, as Democrats, will lose it, too.

So, part of this is a loyalty test for the Democrat to the president to swallow their pride and swallow some things they don't like and vote yes. And the president is making it so personal, Anderson, which is raising the stakes for him as well.

COOPER: Yes, it's a fascinating day.

John King thanks.

KING: Thank you.

COOPER: Of course, just a quick reminder: You can catch John King's new program, "John King USA" weeknights 7:00 p.m. Eastern starting next Monday.

Now let's talk about the real bottom line for all of us. What does this health care reform bill actually mean for you and your family in terms of health insurance? What, if anything, changes, and how quickly would you see those changes?

Let's talk to 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta, who has been looking at the provisions, joins us now.

Take us through these changes and the timing. What will happen in this next year, in 2010, if this passes?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the average person out there who doesn't have a medical problem and has employer-based health care, they're probably not going to see much in the way of changes.

But some things are going to be happening if this passes. And I think they are certainly worth talking about, again, talking about this year specifically. People who have developed some sort of medical problem, insured, but those -- the amount of money the insurance company pays is capped every year, those caps are going to go away.

So, people, if the health care costs are spiraling high, you're going to be able to continue to get that covered. Pre-existing conditions, in many ways, will be addressed, not fully. But what this means is, they're going to create these high-risk pools around the country.

So, if you're someone who has been uninsured, you have a medical problem, and you've just been unable to find insurance, you can join one of these high-risk pools and get your insurance that way. About $5 billion is going to be spent on these high-risk pools. That's how they're going to pay for it.

Young adults -- Anderson that we've talked about this in the past -- you have graduated college, but you haven't gotten your first job yet, you can get covered up until age 26. And then, also drug discounts for seniors -- everyone has been talking about this doughnut hole.

It's a way the medications are paid for or not paid for, for seniors. They're going to shrink that doughnut hole, making it a little bit easier for people to cover their costs under Medicare -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, the supporters of this bill say, look, it's going to cover 31 million uninsured people. When would that actually kick in?

GUPTA: Right.

COOPER: And for those people who had been putting off treatments or maybe surgeries, would they be able to get coverage right away? It doesn't sound like it.

GUPTA: Well, if you're uninsured and you have some sort of medical problem, you're probably going to be the most affected by this, and in a good way, because you're going to be able to join one of these high- risk pools, get insurance, and may be able to get either the operation that you're discussing about or some sort of treatment sooner.

So, that's probably the population that's going to benefit the most. But, to your point, Anderson, that's 31 million number, a lot of those people are not going to get insured for several years, maybe the year 2014.

Several things are going to happen at that point. First of all, people are going to be mandated to have coverage. That's how this whole thing works. There's going to be a mandate. If you can afford to get health care insurance, you have to buy it, or you get fined.

If you can't afford it, you're going to get some help. You're going to get some tax breaks in the form of tax credits, depending on your income level, the size of your family, et cetera.

But this whole idea that there's going to be these health insurance exchanges is really at the heart of all this. And this is confusing a little bit, Anderson, but think of it like supermarkets. Instead of you sort of going out and having just a couple of insurance providers for you, you're going to have dozens.

So, they're competing for your business, as opposed to you trying to find just a single one or two. And, finally, this no discrimination based on preexisting conditions, that kicks in, in full effect for 2014 for adults.

And again, just because you've had some sort of medical illness in the past, or even a strong family history of something, you can't be discriminated based on that. That's how you get to the 31 million number.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: I just want to underscore a point that Sanjay made about pre- existing conditions. And it's a pretty important one for parents. Within six months of the bill passing, if it passes, kids with pre- existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.

Now, that provision kicks in for adults in 2014, so four years from now. Until then, as Sanjay said, adults with pre-existing conditions will be able to join those high-risk pools.

And a reminder: You can watch Sanjay Gupta this weekend and every weekend Saturdays and Sundays 7:30 a.m. Eastern time, "Sanjay Gupta M.D."

Up next: The latest on Haiti. Big rains are starting. And for hundreds of thousands of homeless, it's about to get a lot worse. Sean Penn is joining us with an update from Port-au-Prince. We'll join him in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, we promised to continue shining a light on Haiti. And tonight, the story has taken a turn for the worse.

Take a look at this. Overnight, heavy rains drenched, swamped homeless camps like this one. About 45,000 people live at this one camp, which is set up at the Petionville Golf Club in Port-au-Prince. It's in a ravine. Water poured down the slopes into families' tents. It left a muddy, miserable mess behind, conditions ideal for spreading disease.

And next month, when the full rainy season gets under way, things will only get worse.

The JP Haitian Relief Organization, a group started by Sean Penn, is providing help to this camp and others. Penn spent much of the last two months in Haiti. He joins me now from Port-au-Prince.

Sean, what have the rains has been like so far?

SEAN PENN, ACTOR: Well, I think it was a wakeup call to everybody. The state of things here is, I think, described really well -- we're -- I'll start outside of our camp. And there are 22 camps that are in riverbeds, between 2,000 and 5,000 people that will virtually be washed into the ocean if they are not relocated.

The camp that we've just taken over the camp management on at Petionville last night, we went down at about 10:30 at night, when the rains were pelting down. It was total chaos. It should be understood that in most of these camps, most of the IDP camps, they are not tents, what you see. They are tarps over sheets around frames. There's no bottom.

At the Petionville Club, it's a steep slope. Tents are going to fall within -- within days. This is two hours of rain, basically, what you saw. And when the rains become days' worth of rain, these are going to -- you are going to be displacing the displaced. People are going to die.

Now, as so-called camp managers, we know that, without pointing a finger at anyone, that -- that we've seen a lot of great work being done by a lot of people. But the politics are going to kill people. They -- not the -- not the Haitian politics, per se, the politics of all the organizations and governments involved, and the corruption, locally, because in most cases people do know how to make these relocations happen into safe zones. They will not be complete. We will not complete our task.

We need direct help at JPHRO. And we have a Web site for that, because, no matter what happens, we're going to stay here. But I think that the American public really needs to know that this is -- we are on the verge of a current disaster, a real -- and the United States military, for example, that did such a great job, their -- their great work is about to get washed all the way away.

COOPER: So --

PENN: And so, every -- everybody has got to put the politics aside and get these people relocated now.

COOPER: Without -- I mean, I don't -- you know, if you -- if you say too much, you jeopardize the people you're working with, I guess, but, in terms of the politics you're talking about, what is the problem?

I mean, we have been talking for months. Everybody knows that these camps need to be relocated. And we're talking hundreds of thousands of people. Why has that not happened? What is the difficulty?

PENN: Well, let's start with the state of affairs. I think there's five or six locations that they have picked out for urban camps, which spreads people in ways that are going to be very difficult to assign in the first place, very difficult to service.

And only, I think, two -- one or two of them -- there's only been groundbreaking on one that I think will house about 4,000 people. I've got 45,000 people just in my camp. And, by my camp, I mean the one that myself and our organization work together with the community leaders in that camp.

We -- we had last night, in the trench -- the one drainage trench in the entire camp, a river flowing with children on slick, deep clay, right on the edge of it. There's no question that if we don't immediately relocate, my feeling, is to big, well-serviced, urban camps -- rural camps right now, where you can get hundreds of thousands of people and sort it out later, sort out the ways that the shelters will be permanent or temporary -- put it into an escrow account and pay fair market later, if necessary.

But take the lands. Get the service. Get the people out of harm's way because people are going to die, possibly in the tens of thousands. And then we've got disease and the hurricane season to follow.

COOPER: And the people in your camp, I mean, 45,000 people now, you're trying to manage this one camp. And, as you said, there are a number of camps like it.

What are -- what is life like in these camps? I mean, how do, every day, people deal with being in these camps? I mean, it's completely miserable.

PENN: Well, you know, one of the things that we were not -- as you know, we were not smelling social unrest in the air. We are starting to smell it now. We have increasing rapes.

And the -- it is really like being forced to live like animals in the mud. There is an acceptable -- and I'm talking about by words that have been used -- level of malnutrition nationwide. Starvation might be too extreme a word, because they have had a lot of rice. But that does not in any way suffice.

The strength of the Haitian people is such that we've got people building businesses in the camp. And on a given day, with the -- with their strength of character, a photograph can make this look like it's getting better.

It is not getting better. Virtually nothing is getting better. There's been incredible, miraculous work done by the U.S. military, by many, many other countries. By -- our doctors alone have seen in excess of 100,000 -- administered in excess of 100,000 people.

It will be for naught if this is allowed to continue. So, all I can say is -- is, our camp is going to relocate itself because of nature. And it's going to relocate itself either straight through about 15 people they have between the Military and the U.N. alongside the camp and our area as well as people displacing themselves from displacement into the streets of Port-au-Prince.

And one of the key things that's very easy to do. One of the first things that's easy to do, you can help groups like ours which are direct action groups and send tents because believe it or not, they are not here; and tents by the tens of thousands.

The other thing that's already implemented is the service that can continue is the heightened services at the outlying areas so the people that have fled Port-au-Prince don't return to Port-au-Prince and centralize the problem even more.

COOPER: Sean, continue what you are doing. We'll be down there shortly. You can read more about Sean Penn's efforts in Haiti. Find a link to the JPHaitian Relieve Organization on our Web site at AC306.com.

In the situation there, we all like to think the story is over, that the emergency is over. But it is not over. And as Sean was saying, it is about to get much, much worse when these really heavy rains come in April.

Still ahead, remember that mysterious man who was supposedly a lawyer advising the American missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian kids? It turns out he was wanted by police and then he disappeared.

Well police have finally caught up with him. We'll tell you the charges he now faces.

And we'll take you inside a secretive sect whose followers shun doctors even when their kids are dying. And kids have died right here in America because of this. A former member tells us what she saw and why she left.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A lot of stories going on tonight. Jessica Yellin has a "360 Bulletin" -- Jessica.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there Anderson.

Dominican police have arrested a fugitive who acted as the lawyer for U.S. missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children. Authorities say Jorge Torres Puello was wanted in the U.S., El Salvador and Costa Rica for trafficking women and children. He was taken into custody in Santo Domingo.

New claims about a German priest suspended for violating terms the church set for him after he was convicted of abusing minors. Reverend Peter Hullermann was allowed to return to work after his 1986 conviction. But now, a psychoanalyst who treated him says the church ignored his explicit warnings to keep the molester away from children. The psychoanalyst also said he does not believe then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope, was aware the priest had returned to service.

In Fargo, North Dakota, they are filling sandbags as fast as they can, just racing to hold off the flood waters. The Red River is expected to crest this weekend at 37.5 feet.

And take a look at this, just despicable. A cookie thief caught on tape. His target was yes, a Seattle girl scout. She was selling cookies outside the grocery store when the thief struck. He made off with $465 cash. Wouldn't you know, some are calling him a cookie monster.

COOPER: He stole from a girl scout?

YELLIN: A girl scout. She's on the local news weeping. It's heart breaking.

COOPER: That is low, low, low, low. All right Jessica. Thank --

YELLIN: Anderson I have to interrupt you before you go away. We have a surprise guest for you. I think you're going to like this one.

COOPER: Yes.

ERICA HILL, FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Anderson Cooper. How are you doing?

COOPER: Hey. Are you --

YELLIN: Recognize her?

HILL: Hey Jessica, it's nice to see you, too.

YELLIN: Hi.

HILL: You know, Anderson, I was catching up on my AC360 this morning before going to work. And I noticed that you had Cheech on talking about your "Jeopardy" loss.

COOPER: Loss, you are being kind.

HILL: And frankly, I was a little appalled at a certain point in the interview. I thought you might get away something and I think we have that little bit of tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I was doing the thumb. I peeked at you and I think you were doing the index finger. That's right.

CHEECH MARIN, ACTOR: I learned that from a track coach in high school. With a stopwatch timer he said it's a much faster reflex with the index finger.

COOPER: When I really started panicking, I thought I was going to switch to your method. I didn't think I shouldn't change my gait in mid stride and nevertheless, I still went on and lost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Likely excuse. And I love the way he just totally played into that like yes, you're right Anderson. You know those buzzers -- luckily I learned the tactic in high school. Really? The buzzer?

COOPER: You know I wasn't blaming the buzzer. There's a whole Zen to the buzzer. If you do it too fast, you are out for a split second. He's faster on the buzzer. He knew some answers I didn't know. I knew plenty of the answers that he knew, I just didn't buzz in right.

HILL: You just couldn't buzz in, in time. I'm sorry. You did have a little trouble. I think we have it in slow mo there. Just so that the people at home know and understand that you are not using it as an excuse at all, I'm sure.

COOPER: Well, see, I'm buzzing on all those things. See, there I am. I didn't get it. Anyway -- I take full responsibility. I lost fair and square. He was a good competitor.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We were all "Jeopardy" champions because we all won previous games.

HILL: You are still a "Jeopardy" champion for before.

COOPER: Yes, I once was a "Jeopardy" champion; I am now a "Jeopardy" loser.

HILL: You said it, not me, my friend.

COOPER: I am a "Jeopardy" loser. I admit it. I'm changing my business card.

Erica, shouldn't you like be going to sleep?

HILL: I do have to get up and do "The Early Show" on CBS tomorrow. But you know what? I thought this was important, too.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I appreciate you coming from CBS News over here to mock me, yet again.

HILL: Some things never change.

COOPER: Some things never change indeed. You can watch Erica in just a few hours tomorrow morning on "The Early Show" on CBS. Go to sleep. Thank you Erica. Stop mocking me.

HILL: Good night.

COOPER: Move on.

Coming up next on "360," very serious stuff. This is a church where medicine is actually shunned. When a child is sick, the followers look for faith for a cure. We're talking about more than a dozen dead kids who are connected to this sect. Our close-up investigation ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Up Close" tonight, a religious group turning to faith, not medicine to heal kids, even if it ends in death. They're called the Followers of Christ and they number more than 1,000. When someone gets sick, even gravely ill, they do not contact a doctor. Instead, they seek divine intervention.

Tonight, a former member of the Followers of Christ takes 360 inside the secretive sect, telling us what she witnessed and why she left. Dan Simon reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A boy is dead, a teenager. His parents are now in prison. Not for what they did, but for what they didn't do.

JUDGE STEVE MAURER, CLACKAMAS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: This child would be alive today if the defendants, Jeffrey and Marci Beagley, would have done that which this community expects every parent to do.

SIMON: Marci and Jeff Beagley got 16 months after admitting they had denied their son the drugs he needed. They were convicted of negligent homicide. Their son died of what prosecutors say was a curable disease of his kidneys.

(on camera): There was no question that medically, his problem could have been handled with medicine.

GREG HORNER, CHIEF DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OREGON: That was a fact that the defense did not contest.

SIMON (voice-over): No medicine because the Beagleys belonged to a Christian church near Portland, Oregon that believes seeing a doctor is a sign of weakness. Instead, members rely solely on faith healing found in the New Testament, believing that God will cure them of their ills.

Holly Martinez is a former member of the church called The Followers of Christ.

HOLLY MARTINEZ, FORMER MEMBER, FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST: When I was a young kid growing up to late teens, I'd never seen a doctor in my life.

SIMON (on camera): Imagine not allowing your own children to go see a doctor.

To fully understand the impact of that, authorities say just come here to the church's cemetery, where you'll find the names of numerous children whose deaths doctors say could easily have been prevented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what word to call them (ph): ignorant, misinformed, bull-headed.

SIMON (voice-over): Dr. Larry Newman (ph) is the former chief medical examiner in this county. He thought the church would have learned its lesson long ago. Over the last three decades, his office investigated the deaths of some 30 fetuses, infants and children, all connected to the church. Most, Newman says, could have been saved with medical treatment.

About ten years ago, Newman pushed the state to pass a law that can make parents criminally liable for their children's deaths.

DR. LARRY NEWMAN, FORMER CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: It's against the law not to feed your kids. It's against the law not to provide the necessities of life, including medical care for a child. And nothing was being done about it.

SIMON: The Followers of Christ church was founded in the early 1900s by a man named Walter White, who was called the Apostle.

(AUDIO GAP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Obviously, we're having a technical problem with this. We'll try to get that fixed.

We'll be right back and Jeffrey Toobin is going to join us to talk about this sect and what we know about it. We'll try to get the piece fixed. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're talking about a secretive religious sect that chooses prayer over medicine and kids have died because of it. It's a disturbing story and raised a lot of legal issues.

Let's talk with legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Thirty kids and fetuses could have been -- could have been saved, I mean, if it wasn't for this group. That 30 of them died unnecessarily is stunning.

TOOBIN: It's stunning. And what took the authorities so long to start with criminal prosecutions because religious freedom does not entitle you to deprive medical care from a minor.

You can do whatever you want with your own life.

COOPER: You can decide for yourself.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. But these children have no individual autonomy, no ability to make these decisions. These decisions are made for them. And this is a crime in every state. We've covered a lot of stories like this, whether it's chemotherapy.

Many years ago, Christian Scientists used to be involved in a lot of these investigations. But a case with so many people, the fact that so few people have been prosecuted, that's really the outrage.

COOPER: I mean, obviously, look, this is a very religious country and people want to protect religious freedoms. That's completely understandable. So I mean, where is that line? When it comes down to kids?

TOOBIN: It really is very -- I mean, you know, there are a lot of places in the law where the line is difficult to draw. But when you're talking about curable, medical conditions for children who have no ability on their own to deal -- to make the decision to get medical treatment, that is frankly, a pretty easy call legally that this is a crime to withhold medical treatment. I mean, you're talking about people dying of urinary tract infections, which, you know, should not be happening in the United States in the 20th or 21st century.

COOPER: Some of the jurors in the case of the Beagleys who were sentenced, they were saying they were hoping in the sentencing for leniency, because they thought these were obviously good people. I mean, it's got to be a difficult thing for jurors. Clearly, those parents are upset that their child died.

TOOBIN: Certainly. And, you know, sincerity is an attractive trait. And undoubtedly, these -- the members of this religion, they're not in it for the money. They're not in it for bad purposes. But they are talking about taking their children's lives. And even if that is done with the best intentions, I can't imagine a society that would sanction that.

COOPER: But -- but there's no way to prevent -- I mean, there's no way to kind of oversee a religious group to prevent this from happening in the future, is there?

TOOBIN: What makes this so hard to investigate is that you only really find out about situations like this after the child has died. Because you can't send investigators out to see if anybody is sick in the community.

So, it's actually difficult to prosecute, because you have to work backward and see what -- see what the children died of, see if it was curable, see when the decision was made not to get help.

So, I have a certain amount of sympathy for the law enforcement here, because it's not a simple crime to investigate. And obviously, the experience of having children die has not convinced the members of this religion to stop this practice and start getting help for kids.

COOPER: And obviously, we reached out to members of this church and their leaders, wanting them to come on the program tonight to talk about this. You know, they obviously declined. They wanted nothing to do with it.

But it is hard to see how you can justify repeated deaths. I mean, at a certain point, you would think a preponderance of evidence would, you know, lead people to change their ways.

TOOBIN: Faith is faith. And if that's -- if that's what they believe, that's what they believe. But that is not a legal excuse or, frankly, I think, a moral excuse to sanction the death of children.

COOPER: It's really disturbing.

Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Thanks Jeff.

TOOBIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, find out why the New York City Police Department pounded on one couple's door 50 times over eight years and why there's a connection to cheesecake. Mmm cheesecake.

Plus, Lady Gaga versus her ex-boyfriend; he claims he transformed her into a music icon. He's suing her for millions of dollars. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're following a number of stories. Jessica Yellin again with the "360 News & business Bulletin" -- Jessica.

YELLIN: Hey, Anderson.

Former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said today that she would, quote, "many times over" liberate Iraq, again, from Saddam Hussein. But she said she regrets how the Bush administration failed to work more closely with Iraqis to rebuild the country. Rice made the comments during a speech at a Hong Kong university.

Six hundred sixty-one General Motors dealers the company is offering to reinstate have received letters with some new terms on how to reopen for business. About 400 dealers are still fighting for their franchises after GM emerged from bankruptcy protection last year.

This is a likely story. Lady Gaga's former boyfriend, producer and business partner is suing the pop star for -- get this -- $30.5 million. Rob Fusari (ph) claims that he created her stage name and persona and that he transformed her songs to make them big hits. I'm sure it had nothing to do with her talent.

And the New York Police Department has apologized for pounding on the front door of this Brooklyn home 50 times -- 50 -- over the last eight years. The last visit was on Tuesday when officers yelled, "Police, open up."

Well, it turns out Walter and Rose Martin, who are both in their 80s, live in the home --

COOPER: Oh, no.

YELLIN: -- and they're not criminals. So what happened? A computer glitch put them on the police's radar. The police were concerned that the home was linked to criminal activity. It's inexplicable.

But the very best part, Anderson, is the police commissioner stopped by to apologize and gave the Martins what else? A cheesecake.

COOPER: Really?

YELLIN: Because apparently, that's the appropriate gift for police harassment. COOPER: Wow. The poor couple, having to, like, get up and, like, open the door every time?

YELLIN: Fifty times.

COOPER: That can't be pleasant.

YELLIN: And then they get a cheesecake.

COOPER: It's almost as unpleasant as being sued by your, you know, former business partner.

YELLIN: And boyfriend. I think there was a Human League song about that. Wasn't that, do you remember, in the '80s? "Don't You Want Me?"

COOPER: Yes. You're right. You're kicking it old school tonight, Jessica.

YELLIN: Way back.

I like that, yes.

COOPER: Yes. Sure, sure. A little -- who else did you listen to in the '80s?

YELLIN: I don't want to admit, a lot of Madonna.

COOPER: A lot of Madonna.

YELLIN: A little Billy Idol.

COOPER: Billy Idol, ok. All right. There you go, sure. Oh, yes. Where are they now? Well, Madonna, we know where she is.

YELLIN: We know.

COOPER: But Billy Idol.

YELLIN: He's gotten bad --

COOPER: Probably best to know where Billy Idol is.

Anyway, time for our "Beat 360" winners. It's our daily to challenge to come up with a caption better than the one we can came up with for a photo that we put on the blog every day.

So tonight's photo, President Obama removing his jacket before speaking on health-care reform at George Mason University today in Virginia.

Staff winner tonight, Maureen. Her caption, "Maybe it's time I put on my Superman costume."

Viewer winner is Robbi with caption, "OK, you judge, who came up with the best bicep plan. Michelle's free weight reps or my arm twisting of your reps?"

Ok. I read that wrong. OK, you judge. I thought he was talking to a judge. It's a Friday night. Robbi, I apologize.

YELLIN: I liked the Superman joke.

COOPER: Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way Robbi. Congratulations.

That's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.