South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has released a 2020 campaign ad taking shots at "Medicare-for-all" proponents in the Democratic field, arguing that his health plan offers more freedom by letting people keep their private insurance.
The ad, released on Monday night, featured clips of multiple commentators supporting his "Medicare-for-all who want it" plan. "Mayor Pete said a 'Medicare-for-all who want it.' That seems like a much better formulation -- working towards a universal health care system but it doesn't wipe out private insurance," CNN commentator Van Jones says in the ad.
The video was released on day before Tuesday's fourth Democratic debate, likely an indication that Buttigieg would try and go on offense against "Medicare-for-all" proponents like Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Previous Democratic debates have tended to focus on health care, which seems to be one of the primary sources of infighting among leading 2020 candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden has borne the brunt of the criticism due to his desire to build on the Affordable Care Act enacted by former President Obama.
It's unclear how Buttigieg will address Biden but his ad mentioned Warren and Sanders by name. The spot claims that they want to abolish private insurance and suggests that labor unions might oppose Medicare for all because it would erase the previous gains they made in fighting for insurance.
Buttigieg's health plan offers a public option that includes automatic and retroactive enrollment for anyone without a private plan.
It's unclear how long Americans could maintain their private insurance under Buttigieg's plan, though, as he's already reinforced conservative fears about a public option providing unfair and ultimately destructive competition for private companies.
"If private insurers are unable or unwilling to offer better plans than they do today, competition from this public alternative will naturally lead to Medicare-for-all," he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed announcing the plan last month.