Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, Indiana Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate, launched a TV ad last week taking aim at single-payer healthcare and those who wish to abolish the private healthcare industry. The ad is titled “Makes More Sense,” and intends to appeal to voters who believe there is a middle-of-the-road option between the current healthcare system and the single-payer system, Medicare for All.
“Makes More Sense”
In the ad, shots of Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail are interspersed with TV clips and soundbytes of political commentators and newscasters agreeing with his Medicare for All Who Want It policy.
“[Buttigieg is] trying to focus on choice,” says NBC’s Josh Lederman, “not infringing on people’s freedom to make that decision voluntarily.”
Immediately following the first day of the ad, his campaign released a follow-up statement, “The ad highlights [that] Pete’s bold approach to health care would not kick millions of people off their private health care plans, and would give them the option to choose the plan that’s right for [them].”
In a separate Facebook ad, Buttigieg says, “Medicare for All Who Want It will create a public alternative, but unlike the Sanders-Elizabeth Warren vision it doesn’t dictate it to the American people and risk further polarizing them.”
Freedom to choose
Choice is the core value behind Buttigieg’s healthcare angle. To be specific, he wants Americans to have the ability to choose between keeping their employer-sponsored health plan if they like it, or buy into the Medicare system through a public option.
In the first debate of the Presidential race, he drew the line in the sand and said: “You take something like Medicare,” he said, “a flavor of that, you make it available on the exchanges, people can buy in. And then if people like us are right, that will be not only a more inclusive plan, but a more efficient plan than any of the corporate answers out there… Even in countries that have outright socialized medicine, like England, there’s still a private sector. That’s fine.”
Warren and Sanders push back against public option
However, Warren and Sanders have countered that a Medicare buy-in option still leaves out millions of Americans who can’t afford Medicare premiums, copays, and deductibles. In fact, 10 percent of seniors with Medicare coverage do not seek medical treatment because they cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs, and healthcare costs are the number one reason for seniors to file for bankruptcy.
Warren countered with this point in one Democratic debate, saying this still makes healthcare cost-prohibitive for millions of people, making it “Medicare for All Who Can Afford It” as opposed to “Medicare for All Who Want It.”
Rising in the polls
With former Vice President Joe Biden slipping in the polls, this puts Buttigieg in a solid position for the leading moderate as he continues to gain on Warren and Sanders, respectively.
Buttigieg plans to release a “policy series” in the coming months, which will address the ways the American healthcare system is “too expensive, too complicated, and too frustrating,” he said.
Pete Buttigieg can be seen in the next Democratic debate on November 20 in Atlanta, GA.