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

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Bogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration Overnight Defense: Woodward book causes new firestorm | Book says Trump lashed out at generals, told Woodward about secret weapons system | US withdrawing thousands of troops from Iraq MORE on Tuesday responded to fellow Democratic White House contender Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally Special counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report 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 WarrenJudd Gregg: The Kamala threat — the Californiaization of America GOP set to release controversial Biden report Biden's fiscal program: What is the likely market impact? MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersJacobin editor: Primarying Schumer would force him to fight Trump's SCOTUS nominee Trump campaign plays up Biden's skills ahead of Cleveland debate: 'He's actually quite good' Young voters backing Biden by 2:1 margin: poll MORE (I-Vt.) on how to reform the health care system.