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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 4 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.