During a town hall in Centerville, Iowa, one woman asked Buttigieg why Democrats wanted to give everyone Medicare when they had not paid into the system like current seniors.
“I’m glad you raised that, because the truth is, it’s not quite the same,” Buttigieg responded. “Medicare is Medicare.”
He acknowledged that Democrats promising “Medicare for all” or his own campaign promise for “Medicare for all who want it” was “shorthand.”
“We’re naming it after Medicare as a reminder that we’ve already had public health insurance in this country for a long time,” he said.
The Medicare offered to all Americans, he said, would be a different kind of plan than the Medicare that seniors enjoyed.
“When we say ‘Medicare for all who want it,’ what I mean is that there ought to be a public plan that you can buy into,” he said.
The South Bend Mayor argued that a government-funded public health care plan would force private plans to compete, forcing down health care coverage costs.
Buttigieg continues to campaign against the more radical “Medicare for all” plan endorsed by presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, arguing that he wants to allow people who are happy with their current plan to remain on that plan.