Pete Buttigieg calls 'Medicare for All' and free college plans 'questionable on their merits'

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg weighed...

Posted: Jul 14, 2019 9:12 AM

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg weighed in on his opponents' plans to implement "Medicare for All" and free college tuition, calling them "questionable on their merits" and "pretty far out from where Americans are."

"I do think that we should be realistic about what's going to work. And just flipping a switch and saying we're instantly going to have everybody on Medicare just like that -- isn't realistic," the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said in an interview with CNN's David Axelrod slated to air Saturday night.

"I think that when it comes to a lot of these policies that we're being pushed to do -- say that we can pay down the last penny of tuition for any student including the child of a billionaire. These are things that are questionable on their merits and of course also pretty far out ... from where Americans are."

In the crowded Democratic field, a majority of candidates have said they support some form of a single-payer health care, but disagreement over how to achieve universal health care has come to the forefront both on the campaign trail and on the debate stage. Of the 20 candidates on the two debate stages during the first round of Democratic debates, just four raised their hands when asked who backed the elimination of private health insurance -- Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Sanders, however, has become the lodestar of the Medicare for All debate. Though generations of Democrats have toyed with ideas for expanding or guaranteeing medical coverage, Sanders' relentless push for Medicare for All -- a proposal unveiled with several big-name co-sponsors -- has set a measuring stick among Democrats in this primary.

Buttigieg himself is not opposed to Medicare for All, but has said it should be an option.

"The best way to do that is a Medicare for all who want it. We take some flavor of Medicare, you make it available on the exchange as a public option. And you invite people to buy into it," he said at a CNN town hall in March.

Buttigieg, in an interview that will air on "The Axe Files" Saturday at 7 p.m., ET, also addressed some dipping poll numbers following his initial surge in March and April of this year.

"Our plan was to have a slow burn, to try to assert that we belonged in the race, period -- over the spring and into the summer and then hope to break out in the debates. What we found instead is that the message caught fire early," the Democratic presidential hopeful said. "It's a great problem to have."

"You definitely don't want to have your best moments too early in the race. But what we've seen is, you know, we arrived in a kind of very swift fashion and now we've carved out a place in the leading group. But in order to stay there, we've got to earn that," Buttigieg added.

In CNN's July 2 poll, Buttigieg, who announced on the same day that he had raised nearly $25 million in the second quarter, came in with only 4% support in the race for the Democratic nomination. That's down from 5% from in late May and 7% in late April.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1000163

Reported Deaths: 16309
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1347632106
Lake660041156
Allen57441793
Hamilton46100461
St. Joseph44109607
Elkhart35696507
Vanderburgh32087477
Tippecanoe27796257
Johnson24902443
Hendricks23738354
Porter22802362
Madison18614404
Clark18424250
Vigo17347301
Monroe15180197
LaPorte15046250
Delaware14984259
Howard14626287
Kosciusko12217147
Hancock11630175
Bartholomew11505179
Warrick11255189
Floyd11013214
Wayne10897250
Grant9964218
Morgan9404176
Boone8863116
Dubois8227130
Dearborn817093
Henry8139151
Noble7984106
Marshall7838134
Cass7499119
Lawrence7403170
Shelby7138114
Jackson694088
Gibson6533113
Harrison644491
Huntington633999
Knox6273106
DeKalb626397
Montgomery6208109
Miami589797
Putnam575377
Clinton570271
Whitley560455
Steuben554675
Wabash5279101
Jasper524475
Jefferson506996
Ripley495685
Adams476073
Daviess4616113
Scott435869
Greene422096
Wells420987
Clay420260
White415962
Decatur4133101
Fayette404286
Jennings385160
Posey375343
LaGrange353978
Washington353249
Randolph341999
Spencer337342
Fountain332558
Sullivan326752
Starke313369
Owen312070
Fulton306567
Orange291762
Jay280445
Perry264752
Franklin264042
Carroll259132
Rush258832
Vermillion255454
Parke230026
Pike227943
Tipton226659
Blackford190540
Pulaski181855
Crawford158623
Newton156048
Benton150217
Brown144547
Martin137419
Switzerland134211
Warren120516
Union106815
Ohio84112
Unassigned0538

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1499485

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1626291662
Cuyahoga1447662412
Hamilton1044761409
Montgomery731681240
Summit610421094
Lucas55643904
Butler51076707
Stark459431053
Lorain35141568
Warren32476369
Mahoning30315672
Clermont27930321
Lake26669434
Delaware23960162
Licking23547283
Trumbull22550552
Fairfield22179241
Greene22098311
Medina21763305
Clark19630349
Richland18342280
Portage17696247
Wood17244220
Allen15730269
Miami15355296
Muskingum14551174
Columbiana13756263
Wayne13585263
Tuscarawas12479298
Marion11797175
Scioto11388154
Pickaway11286141
Erie10676180
Ross10462196
Lawrence9663137
Hancock9546149
Ashtabula9479197
Belmont9133197
Geauga8829157
Jefferson8481191
Huron8229139
Union810756
Washington8031137
Sandusky7724145
Athens769572
Knox7606138
Darke7553151
Seneca7208144
Ashland6817125
Auglaize667896
Shelby6410111
Brown628582
Crawford6184130
Defiance6087102
Mercer608293
Fulton592996
Highland590099
Madison587576
Clinton576190
Logan574692
Guernsey572467
Preble5660121
Putnam5250108
Williams520184
Perry512561
Champaign505071
Jackson498770
Ottawa479086
Coshocton471582
Morrow451256
Pike430762
Fayette422160
Adams411587
Gallia411265
Hardin411076
Van Wert364078
Henry357871
Holmes3567122
Hocking352578
Wyandot317961
Carroll297059
Paulding275945
Meigs259249
Monroe212953
Noble196546
Morgan190832
Harrison178242
Vinton162624
Unassigned05
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