Sal Pace’s position on health care is closer to Romney’s than Tipton’s
In his latest attack ad against Sal Pace, Colorado’s 3rd District Congressman Scott Tipton shows the same disrespect for the truth that has characterized the Romney/Ryan campaign for president.
Of all the misrepresentations of President Barack Obama’s budget plans, Mitt Romney’s charge that Obama would take $716 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare is probably the most often and the most thoroughly debunked misrepresentation of the president’s actual plan.
According to PoliFact.com, “While the health care law reduces the amount of future spending growth in Medicare, the law doesn’t actually cut Medicare. Savings come from reducing money that goes to private insurers who provide Medicare Advantage programs, among other things.”
As the Obama campaign has pointed out repeatedly, the proposed Ryan budget, endorsed by Mitt Romney, takes essentially the same $716 billion from Medicare. However, rather than use the money to expand Obamacare, Romney and Ryan would use the money to support tax cuts for the richest Americans.
Apparently convinced that the 3rd Congressional District is inhabited by hordes of low-information voters, Tipton has resurrected this discredited charge in his latest TV ad attacking Pace.
In the ad, a woman’s voice says, Pace “supports the new health-care law, cutting over $700 billion from Medicare, hurting Colorado seniors.”
What she does not say is that Tipton twice voted for Republican budgets including the $716 billion cut from Medicare.
Neither plan reduces benefits to Medicare enrollees to pay for the cut.
The Tipton ad also claims, “Pace supports a single-payer government health-care system, a wholesale government takeover of health care.”
This accusation exaggerates the fact that, while in the state Legislature, Pace co-sponsored a bill in 2009 to study a single-payer system like Canada’s for Colorado.
While many of Pace’s supporters might wish he would fight for a single-payer system, Pace made it clear in the Club 20 debate last month that a single-payer system would work only if built from the ground up.
He does not advocate dismantling the present system to make way for a single-payer program in Colorado or elsewhere.
Pace’s campaign manager, Chad Obermiller, told Durango Herald reporter Joe Hanel that the ad played fast-and-loose with the facts.
“People are sick of the gutter politics and Tipton’s 100 percent negative campaign. Colorado deserves more than cheap-shot politics and the partisan attacks that Tipton has practiced every day he’s been a member of Congress,” Obermiller said.
When asked by ThinkProgress about specific income tax deductions Congress might reduce or cut to pay for Mitt Romney’s tax cut for the rich, Tipton replied, “Our specifics will be general in nature.”
A frustrated James Dakin Owens, Sal Pace’s campaign communications director, complained, “Congressman Tipton’s refusal to give specifics about his plans to provide middle-class tax relief and pay down the debt is galling.
“It means that he either doesn’t know what his plan is, or is deliberately trying to hide it from his constituents. Whichever is the real reason, these are not the qualities we need in Washington.”
Ironically, Tipton’s hard line on rolling back Obama’s health care program has put him at odds with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In his debate with President Obama, a more moderate Romney stepped forward to repudiate many of the positions he had espoused to win the nomination and gain the support of the tea party Republicans.
As Ezra Klein of The Washington Post described it, “During the first presidential debate, Romney presented himself as a candidate uninterested in tax cuts, in love with Medicare, in support of economic regulations, confident in the government’s role in the health-care system, and interested in few spending cuts beyond PBS. Romney’s policies might be steeped in tea, but last night, he proved his political skills were honed in Massachusetts.”
Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine put it more bluntly. “Romney won the debate in no small part because he adopted a policy of simply lying about his policies.”
In the remaining days of the campaign, Pace should exploit the difference between the new Romney take on health care, and last month’s model still espoused by Tipton.
Colorado voters deserve a clear picture of which approach to health care the Republicans will bring to Washington if Romney wins the White House.