Buttigieg responds to Biden's accusation he 'stole' health care proposal

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Tulsi Gabbard reacts to Afghanistan report, calls out Pete Buttigieg's McKinsey work Buttigieg surrogate on candidate's past consulting work: 'I don't think it matters' MORE on Tuesday responded to fellow Democratic White House contender Joe BidenJoe BidenThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Top Zelensky aide refutes Sondland testimony The great AI debate: What candidates are (finally) saying about artificial intelligence MORE’s allegations that he “stole” the former vice president’s health care proposal.

“Well, first of all, I’ve been talking about ‘Medicare for all who want it’ since at least February, and also the plans are not exactly the same,” Buttigieg told CNN.

He added: “Of course I believe that our approach on health care is the best one, and I’m willing to bring that plan out and compete with any of my competitors on having the best plan.”

On Monday, Biden tore into Buttigieg while on the campaign trail in Iowa, saying the South Bend mayor “stole” his policy idea, adding that he would’ve been criticized if he’d copied another rival.

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A Buttigieg campaign aide said the candidate had proposed “Medicare for all who want it” — which allows for a public option while still allowing for private insurance — before Biden even announced in April that he was running for president. Buttigieg unveiled his proposed health care plan in September, according to his campaign website.

Biden has pushed for expanding the Affordable Care Act and adding a “public option” that allows people to select a government plan or use private insurance.

The two men, who are going head-to-head as they aim to boost support in the early primary state of Iowa, have split hairs with their more progressive rivals, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Buttigieg surrogate on candidate's past consulting work: 'I don't think it matters' Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate The media have fallen out of love with Bernie, but have voters? Steyer rolls out 5B plan to invest in historically black colleges MORE (I-Vt.) on how to reform the health care system.