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 ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession 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 SandersWisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's effort to delay election The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Trump discuss coronavirus response; Wisconsin postpones elections Wisconsin governor postpones Tuesday's election over coronavirus MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds Overnight Energy: Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute | Warren knocks EPA over 'highly dangerous' enforcement rollback | 2019 sees big increase in methane levels in air Ex-CFPB director urges agency to 'act immediately' to help consumers during pandemic 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.