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Truth Test: Stapleton says Polis' name more than his own in first ad

Walker Stapleton's first campaign ad in the race for governor is out, and it focuses more on his competitor than his own vision.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton is on the air with his first political ad. He says his name one time, while mentioning Jared Polis, his Democratic opponent, three times.

CLAIM: "I'm Walker Stapleton. Jared Polis wants government to takeover healthcare. He'd have to double income taxes and that wouldn't even be enough to pay for it."

VERDICT: This is part true, part misleading. These were the focus of a previous Truth Test, when State Solutions (an arm of the Republican Governors Association) made the claims nearly two months ago.

Polis supports a single-payer health care system.

Just like in the previous ad, this one referenced H.R. 676, "Medicare for All." It's a bill introduced in the House in January 2017. Polis signed on as a cosponsor in April 2017. This bill would create a free health care system for all U.S. citizens.

The bill would provide free health care, with no copays, for the following services:

  • Primary care and prevention.
  • Approved dietary and nutritional therapies.
  • Inpatient care.
  • Outpatient care.
  • Emergency care.
  • Prescription drugs.
  • Durable medical equipment.
  • Long-term care.
  • Palliative care.
  • Mental health services.
  • The full scope of dental services, services, including periodontics, oral surgery, and endodontics, but not including cosmetic dentistry.
  • Substance abuse treatment services.
  • Chiropractic services, not including electrical stimulation.
  • Basic vision care and vision correction (other than laser vision correction for cosmetic purposes).
  • Hearing services, including coverage of hearing aids.
  • Podiatric care.

On Polis' campaign website, he writes about his support of Medicare for All.

"Keeping up the fight for universal coverage will take tremendous advocacy and effort from our next governor. Should I have the honor of serving Colorado in that capacity, I will build upon Governor Hickenlooper’s work in advocating for comprehensive health care solutions at the regional and federal level and will fight for Medicare for All as the best solution to our rising health care costs. It’s the option that works for patients and providers, reduces costs, and improves the delivery of care."

He also writes about supporting a localized single-payer system with multiple states in the western U.S.

"I will work to develop partnerships with other western states to pioneer a groundbreaking regional multi-state consortium to offer a common-payer system in the West to reduce prices, expand coverage, and improve the quality of care."

The claim that Polis would have to double income taxes to pay for it is misleading.

The study that claim is based on comes from a study of Senate Bill 1804, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and not H.R. 676, which Polis cosponsors. The two pieces of legislation both deal with single-payer health care, but do not contain identical details.

The study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University that found it would cost the government $32.6 trillion over 10 years to implement a single-payer health care system. The study supports the findings of a 2016 report by the Urban Institute that came to similar conclusions.

The bill cosponsored by Polis suggests funding a single-payer system through the following sources:

  • Existing sources of Federal Government revenues for health care.
  • Increasing personal income taxes on the top 5 percent income earners.
  • Instituting a modest and progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income.
  • Instituting a modest tax on unearned income.
  • Instituting a small tax on stock and bond transactions.

CLAIM: "And Polis' energy plan is really a giant energy tax that would raise prices on almost everything else."

VERDICT: This is an overstatement on Jared Polis' energy policy to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

The claim is based on a study from Denver's Independence Institute that figured it would cost nearly $45 billion to force energy companies to be renewable by 2040.

As for Polis' goal of 100 percent renewable by 2040, it's kind of like that line from Pirates of the Caribbean, "the code is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules." Polis' energy plan is just a goal.

On Twitter, right after that study came out in December, Polis had a back-and-forth with Independence Institute's Jon Caldara, saying that mandating energy companies to be renewable by 2040 "is simply not part of my plan to help us reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

It's the difference between requiring someone achieve a deadline versus recommending it. Polis' own website doesn't make a good distinction between recommending it versus requiring it.

By the way, Colorado law does have a renewable energy mandate that has been modified by state lawmakers. Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy are required to have 30 percent renewable energy by 2020.

BOTTOM LINE: It's true that Polis supports universal health care, but the repeated claim that it would double our income taxes is misleading because the study is based on a different bill, and frankly, is not an apples to apples comparison if Colorado, as a state, had universal health care. Polis supports Colorado being a single-payer state, if it can work with other states in the western region. He has said he would not support a single-payer system if costs g