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

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden campaign hires top cybersecurity officials to defend against threats Biden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street Buttigieg's new book, 'Trust,' slated for October release MORE on Tuesday responded to fellow Democratic White House contender Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump Jr. to self-publish book 'Liberal Privilege' before GOP convention Tom Price: Here's how we can obtain more affordable care The Memo: Democrats feel rising tide in Florida 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 WarrenTrump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Pharma pricing is a problem, but antitrust isn't the (only) solution MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Louisiana primary Oh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump glosses over virus surge during Florida trip MORE (I-Vt.) on how to reform the health care system.