Buttigieg: Obamacare Is 'Conservative, Market-Oriented' Concept

February 6, 2019

Peter Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a 2020 presidential candidate, claimed Wednesday that Obamacare is a "conservative, market-oriented" concept.

Buttigieg appeared on MSNBC's "MTP Daily," where he discussed his qualifications for the presidency. Host Chuck Todd played a clip of President Donald Trump castigating socialism during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night

"We are the United States. We are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country," Trump said. "Tonight we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."

Todd then said that Trump was "conflating" the democratic-socialist movement, name-checking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). He then noted that Buttigieg is a progressive and asked him what the distinction is between a Democrat and a socialist.

"I think socialist in this context has become more of a name for name calling than an actual concept," Buttigieg said. "I think this is one example where generations view this differently, and to me and my generation, I think that remark is incredibly out of touch. I understand that for an older generation living through the Cold War, when socialism was associated with communism and communism was associated with totalitarianism, calling something socialist could be a kill switch."

"I think my generation just wants to know if an idea is good," the mayor continued. "Asserting that an idea is socialist, which by the way is something they did even for basically conservative, market-oriented ideas like Obamacare—that spell cannot be cast on our generation, because we don't live in a time when you have capitalism and democracy on one side and socialism and communism on the other."

On Sunday, Buttigieg touted his support for a single-payer health care system during an interview on ABC's "This Week" with host George Stephanopoulos.

"You're for a single-payer system, aren't you?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"I think so. I think that's the right place for us to head as a country, and we can debate the finer points of how to get there," Buttigieg said. "I studied in the U.K., where there is not only single payer, but nationalized medicine, which we're not calling for even there. There is a role for the private sector. I just don't believe that leaving Americans to the tender mercies of corporations is the best way to organize the health sector in this country."