Democratic congressional hopeful Hiral Tipirneni’s legal request last week that TV stations stop running ads characterizing her health-care plan as a pricey government takeover has apparently flopped.
No stations have taken down the ads that said Tipirneni “supports a path to a $32 trillion government takeover of health care, which eliminates Medicare Advantage for seniors.”
The ads are paid for by incumbent Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko’s campaign and the Arizona Republican Party in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District race.
Instead, the ads have remained on the air, hitting Tipirneni on the issue she has made the cornerstone of her campaign.
Tipirneni wants to allow people to buy into Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, and allow it to compete as a public option with private insurers.
Lesko’s ad, she argued, wrongly uses a cost estimate that applied to a plan by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., dubbed “Medicare for all.”
Tipirneni asks TV stations to pull Lesko’s ‘false’ ads
That plan would bring all Americans under the Medicare program, a move often described as single-payer. A report from George Mason University estimated such a plan would cost $32 trillion. That’s less than what the nation is expected to spend without enacting single-payer, but polling suggests public support is in flux.
But five days after Tipirneni called the ads “false and misleading” and sought their removal, no station has indicated it would do so, and only one, ABC 15, KNXV-TV, responded, her campaign said.
Big gap between Lesko, Tipirneni on health care
Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for Lesko’s campaign, argued the ads were completely fair.
“Hiral Tipirneni has been badly embarrassed by her position on healthcare policy, and is now grasping at straws to prevent voters in Arizona Congressional District 8 from learning of her radical positions,” he wrote in a two-page letter to the stations. “But in arguing that your station is required to censor the policy arguments of Congresswoman Lesko — without even a hint of evidence establishing that the advertisements are factually false — Ms. Tipirneni has gone too far and embarrassed herself yet again. The advertisements must stay on the airwaves.”
Candidates spar over ‘phony’ doctor ads in debate
Tipirneni’s campaign said the request was still worth making.
“We appreciate ABC 15 responding to our legal counsel’s letter, and continue to respectfully disagree,” said Jason Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for Tipirneni’s campaign. “Debbie has struggled with telling the truth throughout the campaign. This is one more example of intentionally misleading voters, this time about Hiral’s plan to fix our broken health-care system.
“It’s sad that rather than run on her own platform, she’s just parroting partisan talking points divorced from the reality of this race. Hiral has consistently put people before politics, while Debbie continues reversing those two.”
Medical group yanks endorsement of Lesko over ‘phony’ doctor ads
Kimbrough was alluding to the earlier flap over Lesko’s use of campaign signs that suggested Tipirneni, a physician and cancer-research advocate, was a “fake doctor.”
That attack, which was false, eventually cost Lesko the endorsement of a medical group that had endorsed her.