South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg (D.) criticized his rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) Medicare for All for relying on "controversial" math.
"The math is certainly controversial," Buttigieg said during a Sunday appearance on ABC's This Week. "Again, there are variations on the estimates in the trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars. And we don't have to go there in order to deliver health care to everybody."
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"Can you guarantee that a President Pete Buttigieg would not raise taxes on the middle class?" anchor George Stephanopoulos asked.
"Everything that we have proposed has been paid for and we have proposed no tax increase on the middle class," Buttigieg responded. "We don't have to do it in order to deliver these health care solutions."
Warren has repeatedly dodged questions throughout the primary about whether or not her health care plan would involve raising taxes on the middle class. On Friday, she released her proposal to pay for Medicare for All, and claimed that middle-class taxes would not increase by "one penny" under the plan.
Her plan includes $20.5 trillion in new government spending over 10 years, which she claims will come from billionaires and corporations. It relies on aggressive assumptions about the revenue needed in order to avoid the necessity of raising middle-class taxes.
Buttigieg and Warren are both surging in Iowa alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), setting up a potential showdown between the two far-left senators and the more moderate Buttigieg. Former vice president Joe Biden (D.) has faded into fourth place in the polls, but still narrowly trails the top three.
Buttigieg also had to walk back a claim he made about the primary race turning into a "two-way" fight between him and Warren. The next Democratic debate, to be held on Nov. 20, could see further clashing between candidates over the issue of health care.