Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his campaign denied on Wednesday that his health care stance had changed and clarified a 2018 tweet that's resurfaced in which he declared, "I do favor Medicare for All."

Why it matters: Buttigieg's campaign began running a digital ad this week calling out Democratic presidential rivals Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by name for their Medicare for All support.

  • Buttigieg followed the commercial by going after the progressive candidates at the debate.

What they're saying: Politico, which first reported the past tweets, notes Buttigieg's aides said there's "no contradiction" between his stance then and now.

  • A campaign spokesperson told Axios, "The difference between Pete, Warren and Sanders isn't on the goal of achieving universal health care coverage through Medicare. It's on how to get there."
  • The campaign released a transcript of Buttigieg's response to a reporter in Ames, Iowa, Wednesday night in which he said his views on Medicare had not changed.

"I've laid out a plan that now explains how we're going to get there, that makes Medicare available to all and at the same time doesn't do away with private plans. I think I've been consistent through the year that we don't have to abolish private plans in order to have Medicare available to everybody. And what we've done is we've laid out a detailed plan on how to get there.

"Now, if that public plan that we're creating is superior to every alternative, well then it's going to turn into a glide path that'll bring us to Medicare for All. It's just that for me, the most important principle isn't how many people are being covered by the government, it's making sure that every single American has health care."

What he's proposing: Buttigieg's health care proposal would expand Medicare coverage and keep private health insurance plans available. He's pledged to tackle surprise billing and introduce an out-of-pocket spending cap for Medicare.

  • Other key health care policies from Buttigieg's proposal include a $300 billion plan to bolster mental health and addiction support with increased access and a proposal to reduce drug prices.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Buttigieg and his campaign.

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of noon ET: 20,391,697 — Total deaths: 744,211— Total recoveries: 12,625,076Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 5,161,612 — Total deaths: 164,690 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  5. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.
  6. World: Lebanon reports coronavirus record, UN warns Beirut blast may drive cases higher
38 mins ago - World

U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.