MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Marianne Williamson, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) take part in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida.  A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Marianne Williamson, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former tech executive Andrew Yang, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) take part in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:34
Health care to serve as litmus test for 2020 candidates
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:28
FBI chief refutes claims Antifa was at Capitol riot
abrams
PHOTO: CNN
abrams
Now playing
00:51
Abrams on voting rights: We're fighting to protect our democracy from domestic enemies
Goya Foods President Robert Unanue speaks at a press conference with Carlos Vecchio, the Venezuelan Ambassador who is recognized by the United States on December 21, 2020 in Doral, Florida. The two held the press conference to discuss details of a recent shipment of humanitarian aid to Venezuela, donated by Goya Foods. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Goya Foods President Robert Unanue speaks at a press conference with Carlos Vecchio, the Venezuelan Ambassador who is recognized by the United States on December 21, 2020 in Doral, Florida. The two held the press conference to discuss details of a recent shipment of humanitarian aid to Venezuela, donated by Goya Foods. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:24
Goya CEO under fire for false Trump election claims
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks to CNN's Alisyn Camerota about why he thinks that the Republican Party will move on from former President Donald Trump.
PHOTO: CNN
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks to CNN's Alisyn Camerota about why he thinks that the Republican Party will move on from former President Donald Trump.
Now playing
02:03
Kinzinger: Trump is a loser and we will move on
Now playing
04:17
NYC mayor says Gov. Cuomo should resign if allegations are true
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:29
NYT: Third woman comes forward against Gov. Andrew Cuomo
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House for Baltimore, Maryland on May 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trumps will attend a Memorial Day ceremony at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine despite objections by Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young, whose residents remain under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House for Baltimore, Maryland on May 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trumps will attend a Memorial Day ceremony at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine despite objections by Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young, whose residents remain under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:10
Trump got vaccinated in secret. Here's why this matters
Kinzinger
PHOTO: CNN
Kinzinger
Now playing
03:55
Republican lawmaker reacts to being on Trump's 'enemies list'
Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during the first day of the Republican convention at the Mellon auditorium on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during the first day of the Republican convention at the Mellon auditorium on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
04:41
Haley flip flops on Trump, praising his 'strong speech'
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:12
Women allege sexual misconduct against North Carolina GOP lawmaker
trump investigators murray dnt 03012021
PHOTO: CNN
trump investigators murray dnt 03012021
Now playing
02:56
Five elected investigators are turning their attention to Trump
Now playing
03:12
Avlon on CPAC: It was a hyperpartisan temper tantrum
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
PHOTO: Seth Wenig/Pool/AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
Now playing
02:26
Haberman: This is the first time I can remember Cuomo apologizing
Now playing
02:11
'Sad': Kinzinger blasts Hawley's CPAC remarks
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
PHOTO: Seth Wenig/Pool/AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
Now playing
01:12
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to allegations of sexual harassment
(CNN) —  

Michael Bennet, one of two dozen Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, unveiled Friday a plan to improve rural health care.

At the core of the proposal is the Colorado senator’s Medicare X plan, which would establish a government-run public option on the Affordable Care Act individual and small businesses exchanges. It would offer coverage alongside the private insurance industry.

“The number one issue I hear about in living rooms and town halls is health care,” said Bennet, noting that more than one-third of US counties – most of them rural and small-town – had only one insurer on their exchange. “Rural communities face greater challenges as it is, where clinics are closing, the number of providers is decreasing, and there are higher rates of chronic disease.”

Bennet, who is lagging in the polls, is seeking to differentiate himself from more left-leaning candidates, such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the father of “Medicare for All” and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who are far outpacing Bennet in polling. Under Medicare for All, the federal government would provide comprehensive coverage to all Americans, essentially eliminating private insurers.

“What this plan does not do is take health insurance away from 200 million people, like Medicare for All does,” the senator said.

Bennet, who has focused on rural issues in his decade in Congress, rolled out a Medicare X bill with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, in April. It seeks to reduce Americans’ health care costs by providing more generous federal premium subsidies and expanding the number of people eligible for them. Also, it would boost the payment rates for rural doctors and hospitals by 25%.

He would also allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare and Medicare X, while penalizing drug makers who raise their prices faster than inflation.

Bennet’s plan would also harness technology to provide medical services in rural communities, where providers can be few and far between. He would enhance the use of telemedicine, where doctors could see patients via video chat, and remote patient monitoring to let providers better track their patients’ health status.

His proposal would provide up to $10,000 a year in loan forgiveness and repayment support for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who work in rural areas. And it would invest $60 billion to combat substance abuse, including building more treatment centers.