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Fact check: Examining Buttigieg's claim about keeping your health care

Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

As the Democratic presidential campaign moves to the battleground of South Carolina this weekend, candidate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is highlighting his health plan as he seeks to slow the momentum of the front-runner, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

In a video ad airing across the state, Buttigieg argues that his health plan -- called "Medicare for All Who Want It" -- offers Americans their choice of insurance plans, in a way he says Sanders' more sweeping "Medicare for All" plan does not.

The Sanders plan would eliminate private insurance and move everyone into a government-run program.

Under Buttigieg's proposal, the ad says, "Everyone gets access to Medicare, if they choose." Specifically, according to campaign documents, people or employers could buy into a government-provided health plan, which the campaign says would provide an "affordable, comprehensive alternative" to what is sold on the private market.

But, the voiceover adds, "if you like your private plan, you can keep it."

This isn't the first time a politician has made such a promise. Arguing in favor of the Affordable Care Act, then-President Barack Obama repeatedly said the health law would let people keep their private health plans, if they liked them.

 

That didn't pan out: Millions of Americans' plans were canceled, spawning months of controversy. In 2013, PolitiFact rated Obama's statement the "Lie of the Year."

With that context, we decided to look deeper at Buttigieg's remark. We reached out to his campaign but never heard back.

AN UNCERTAIN MARKET

Experts we talked to said the former mayor's remark is remarkably similar to Obama's -- right down to the pitfalls it encounters.

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