Hospital-linked dark money group launches pricey ad blitz in Colorado

A dark money group that has poured money into fighting "Medicare for All" and other federal healthcare proposals by Democratic presidential candidates is now taking aim at healthcare reform efforts in Colorado, according to Colorado Public Radio.

Colorado's Health Care Future, part of an advocacy group called Partnership for America's Health Care Future, has paid to air hundreds of advertisements and send mailers to Colorado residents in an attempt to defeat a bill that doesn't exist yet. The bill, which is expected to be introduced by Colorado's Democratic legislators, would create a public insurance option.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Colorado hospitals are funding the ads, but the Colorado Health Association contested that claim. It's impossible to know who is paying for the ads because groups like Partnership for America's Health Care Future don't disclose donors' names or the amount they donated, according to the report.

The advocacy group is composed of physicians, nurses, hospitals, health insurers, biopharmaceutical companies and other organizations, a spokesperson told Colorado Public Radio. Though a full list of donors isn't available, Partnership for America's Health Care Future has identified Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and the Federation of American Hospitals as supporters.

The ads paid for by the group claim a public insurance option would negatively affect hospitals. Lower reimbursement under a public insurance option could put 23 rural hospitals in Colorado at higher risk of closure, according to a report released by Colorado's Health Care Future and FTI Consulting.

Colorado Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, disputes the advocacy group's claims. Mr. Donovan, who is sponsoring the bill with Colorado Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, told The Denver Post the proposed policy will not close rural hospitals or put people out of jobs.

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