Progressive group takes aim at Tipton's health care vote with ad campaign

A Colorado-based progressive group launched a TV ad campaign this week slamming U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton for the Cortez Republican’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

“Stop hiking up health care premiums,” outdoor enthusiast who identify themselves as Tom and Mary say in the 30-second ad.

A spokeswoman for Colorado United for Families said the group is spending “six figures” to air the ad through May in the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction TV markets, which cover most of Tipton’s vast 3rd Congressional District.

Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, but the Republican-controlled Congress continued with undoing the health care legislation throughout year — finally undoing the individual mandate as part of a bill overhauling the nation’s tax code passed in late December.

Tipton was first elected to Congress in 2010, when he unseated the Democratic incumbent in a Republican wave year fueled in large part by voter frustration over the passage of Obamacare.

The advertising campaign comes on the heels of an admission made this week by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price that repealing the mandate — often cited as the least popular element of Obamacare — would likely lead to higher costs for consumers who get insurance.

Colorado United for Families cited estimates showing 235,000 Colorado residents will lose coverage by 2025 with the mandate repealed — including 35,200 3rd District residents. Premiums could rise by close to $2,000 annually by next year.

“Congressman Tipton’s actions in Washington, D.C. have had a direct, negative impact on Coloradans,” said ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Ian Silverii, a member of the Colorado United for Families advisory board, in a statement.  “By voting for TrumpTax breaks, health care premiums could increase by nearly $2,000 next year for families in Colorado. His constituents, and all Coloradans, need to know who is responsible when their premiums continue to skyrocket.”

Tipton takes a different view.

In a column he provided last month to news outlets just days after the deadline to file tax returns, he wrote: “With a simpler tax code, Coloradans will be able to file their taxes on a simple short form — saving hours of precious time. To top it off, the individual health insurance mandate will be gone, meaning that if you don’t want to purchase a government health insurance plan, you will no longer be punished. The IRS will be out of the health insurance business once and for all.”

Three Democrats are running in the June 26 primary for the chance to take on Tipton in November: former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush of Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs attorney Karl Hanlon and former Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi, who was the Green Party nominee for the U.S. Senate two years ago.

The sprawling 3rd District, one of the largest in the country, covers the Western Slope, Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley.

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