Biden lashes out at Buttigieg over health care proposal: 'He stole it'

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE on Monday tore into fellow Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDOJ sues to block JetBlue-American Airlines partnership On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership MORE over his health care proposal, saying the South Bend, Ind., mayor “stole it.”

“He stole it,” Biden told reporters while on his campaign bus in Iowa, adding that he would have been criticized had he copied another rival’s plan.

“What would you have done to me? You’d have torn my ears off,” he said, according to Reuters.

ADVERTISEMENT

A Buttigieg campaign aide noted that the candidate had been proposing “Medicare for All who want it” since before Biden announced in April that he was running for president.

Buttigieg unveiled his proposed health care plan in September, according to his campaign website.

Biden’s comments come as both men look to gain support in Iowa less than three months before Democrats in the state hold their nominating contest.

Recent polls have shown Buttigieg surging ahead in both Iowa and New Hampshire, while Biden remains at the top of national polls of Democratic voters.

Biden has advocated for expanding the Affordable Care Act, the signature health care law born under the Obama administration in which Biden served as vice president. He’s proposed adding a “public option” that would allow individuals to select a government plan while others continue using private insurance. 

Buttigieg, like Biden, has diverged from progressive Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTreasury says more rental aid is reaching tenants, preventing evictions 11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Senate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE (I-Vt.), who are backing "Medicare for All" proposals that would do away with private insurance.

Their proposals would not allow people to keep their private insurance. Warren this fall shifted her stance slightly, saying she would work to expand insurance immediately if she is elected president, with the goal of moving to Medicare for All by her third year in office.