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Buttigieg unveils plan to improve health care in rural areas

Buttigieg unveils plan to improve health care in rural areas
© Greg Nash

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhat a Biden administration should look like Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress MORE (D) on Friday unveiled a plan to overhaul the nation's health care system that would implement a public insurance option while working to improve and expand health services in rural areas and on Native American reservations.

The plan stipulates that Americans with private health insurance who wish to remain on their plans will be allowed to do so, while also calling to "strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protect it from Republican attacks" and implement a public insurance option.

Buttigieg, who is running for president, released the plan on his 2020 campaign website.

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A public health insurance plan, Buttigieg argued, would "guarantee an affordable health insurance option through Medicare For All Who Want It."

Buttigieg's announcement and the plan itself largely focuses on rural Americans, both by supporting existing rural programs and by training and recruiting doctors and other health professionals to work in rural areas.

Buttigieg's plan would "dramatically reduce care shortages in rural areas by both training homegrown doctors and nurses and attracting health care workers from elsewhere — with an emphasis on primary care, maternal care, mental health, and addiction providers," the website claims.

"It's time to break with the politics of the past and usher in a new era for rural America — that begins by securing its health. Today I’m proud to announce a plan to invest in too often overlooked communities and secure a healthy future for rural Americans," Buttigieg said in a statement released with alongside the plan.

His "Medicare For All Who Want It" plan is a more centrist alternative to plans pushed by Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTlaib, Ocasio-Cortez offer bill to create national public banking system Cutting defense spending by 10 percent would debilitate America's military The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Election night could be a bit messy MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren has expressed interest in being Biden's Treasury secretary: report The Democrats' 50 state strategy never reached rural America What a Biden administration should look like MORE (D-Mass.), who have advocated for the abolition of private insurance in favor of universal coverage through a government-run Medicare program.

Health care and the role of the private industry has become a central focus of the Democratic primary, for which Buttigieg now remains a middle-tier contender after surging following his initial campaign announcement earlier this year.