- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The far-left group that helped give rise to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has flip-flopped on “Medicare for All” in the 2020 Democratic presidential race purely for political reasons.

Justice Democrats blasted out an email Wednesday that accused Mr. Buttigieg of moving away from Medicare for All after recognizing that Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts owned the issue in the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

“Buttigieg was for Medicare for All before he was against it,” said Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats.

“He realized he was never going to beat Warren and Sanders as a progressive,” Mr. Shahid said. “He got scared of the fight. He realized he could raise tons of cash from corporate executives in the pharmaceutical and insurance industry.”

Mr. Buttigieg has distanced himself from Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders by running on a “Medicare For All Who Want It” plan that would provide a public option while keeping employer-sponsored and private health care plans.

Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, who has been endorsed by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, would basically abolish private insurance coverage.

The Buttigieg campaign announced Wednesday it released a new television ad in Iowa in which voters praise him for giving them a choice on health care and for not promising something that he likely could not deliver in Washington.

The issue has become a dividing line in the 2020 presidential race and appears to have boosted Mr. Buttigieg in Iowa, where a Monmouth University poll released this week found that he has knocked Ms. Warren out of first place.

It also found he had the most favorable rating in the field.

A New York Times/ Sienna College poll released this month, meanwhile, found that 56% of likely caucusgoers favor a candidate who “promises to improve the existing health insurance system” compared to 42% who want a candidate who “promises to replace the current health care system with Medicare for All.”

Mr. Buttigeig says his proposal carries a $1.5 trillion price tag over 10 years, making it less costly than Medicare for All, which is estimated to cost upwards of $34 trillion over 10 years.

Ms. Warren says her plan will cost $20.2 trillion over a decade.

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