MSNBC host Ali Velshi blasted Sen. Ted Cruz's (R., Texas) health care plan as "garbage," only to back off when corrected by an MSNBC health care expert.
On Monday, Velshi and his panel were discussing President Donald Trump's claim that the Republican health care bill, which would repeal and replace Obamacare, will lower health insurance premiums. This, Velshi claimed, was unrealistic.
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"There's no plan under which you get lower premiums, except for that very strange Ted Cruz plan which basically offers you a low premium in exchange for a box of band-aids and hope nothing bad happens to you," he said.
The "very strange Ted Cruz plan" to which Velshi referred was likely Cruz's offered amendment to the Senate version of the health care bill. That amendment would permit health insurance companies to sell non-Obamacare-compliant, bare bones health insurance plans if they also provided an Obamacare-complaint option with all the attending minimum requirements.
Cruz's proposed plan did not appear to be palatable to Velshi, who said that it was essentially "garbage."
"As an expert on this you would agree that at some point it's just garbage, right?" Velshi asked MSNBC health care expert panelist Lonnie Chen. "The stuff that Ted Cruz is peddling is very low premiums for virtually nonexistent health care?"
Chen was quick to disagree with Velshi's statement.
"What this is about is, what kind of plan do people want?" he said. "That's the point that I think Ted Cruz is trying to get at there. I wouldn't call it complete garbage."
"The notion that people ought to have some optionality over the plan that suits them best, I don't think is a garbage idea at all," he added. "In fact, if you have someone who is relatively healthy, who's doing relatively well financially, they may make a different set of decisions than someone who is not doing as well or who is sicker."
"In the current system under the Affordable Care Act, that amount of optionality does not exist. That's what republicans are trying to get towards," Chen said.
Velshi backed off from his initial claim before pivoting to another question.
"I'm gonna take Lonnie's word on that that garbage might be a little strong," he said.