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

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE on Tuesday responded to fellow Democratic White House contender Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' 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 WarrenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump on Clinton's Sanders comments: 'She's the one that people don't like' MORE (I-Vt.) on how to reform the health care system.