Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) joined Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Reps. Ken Buck (CO-04), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), and Mike Coffman (CO-06) in sending a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald requesting that immediate action be taken to streamline referral, authorization, and payment systems within the VA Choice Program.
“When I meet with veterans across the Third Congressional District I constantly hear that while well intentioned, the VA Choice program has, in many cases, not improved their access to health services. Authorization to see a non-VA doctor can take weeks and providers are not receiving reimbursements in a timely manner,” Tipton said. “We’re requesting that the Secretary make it a priority to fix these inefficiencies, so our veterans can get the care they need as quickly as possible.”
In part, the letter reads, “The Choice program was intended to expand and ensure access to care for veterans who are shut out of the system due to its inefficiencies, and allow them to seek care from non-VA providers in the interim. The idea that any veteran should languish at the bottom of a VA wait list, and be unable to find alternative care due to the VA’s incompetence, is an outrage, and yet these continuous complaints lead us to believe that this is exactly what is happening to our veterans in Colorado who wish to utilize the Veterans Choice Program.”
Tipton and his colleagues asked McDonald to take corrective action and also develop a plan for addressing the problems that have been plaguing the program, such as lost referrals and authorizations, burdensome authorization requirements, and denied payments due to inaccurate coding.
“Colorado is home to over 400,000 of our nation’s heroes. These men and women have fought to protect our freedom in countless conflicts around the world, and it is our duty to ensure they are taken care of when they return home,” Tipton added.
The letter can be viewed in its entirety here.Read More
The issues of drug abuse prevention education and the lack of resources for treatment were the focus of three meetings on opioid abuse that Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) recently held in Grand Junction, Alamosa, and Pueblo, Colo., following the roundtable discussions on the opioid abuse epidemic he held over June and July.
On Oct. 12, 2016, Tipton hosted a panel discussion at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) in Grand Junction that focused on strategies for preventing opioid and heroin abuse among high school and college students. The panel of experts was made up of Dr. John Flanagan, a former addictions counselor; Dr. Bob Sammons a psychiatrist who specializes in behavioral medicine; and Bob Lang, a licensed addictions counselor and CMU’s Director of Diversity.
“Over the past several months, I’ve visited communities that have been devastated by the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic that is sweeping our nation. We held our first set of roundtable meetings over the summer to better understand what the federal government can do to support the efforts of local law enforcement officers, health care providers, educators, and government officials in the fight against this epidemic. Our second round of meetings gives us the opportunity to focus on some of the specific challenges that were raised during these discussions,” Tipton said.
Tipton hosted his second follow-up meeting in Alamosa on Oct. 18, following a tour of the Alamosa County Jail. County administrators and commissioners, local business owners, and health care professionals attended the meeting to discuss the challenges the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic has placed on the jail and county as a whole.
“Our county jail is seeing the same people brought in for heroin and illegal opioid use multiple times a week, and even multiple times a day. The symptoms of opioid withdrawal are a health risk for jail staff and others, and the process of enrolling of re-enrolling addicts in assistance programs, like Medicaid, has created a huge burden on the county,” Tipton said. “In Alamosa we had a good discussion about the steps the federal government can take to ease some of the burden on our counties and make more resources available for law enforcement agencies in rural communities.”
On Oct. 19 in Pueblo, Tipton’s third meeting focused on solutions for local schools that have been heavily impacted by the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic.
“Some of the information I receive at these meetings is just heartbreaking. Our school administrators are seeing kids as young as nine-years-old overdosing on opioids. When I hear stories like this I’m at a loss for words, but I know there is more we can be doing at the federal level to stop this devastating epidemic,” said Tipton. “Bringing people together to develop solutions has been the primary goal of our meetings.”
The bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 was signed into law on July 22, 2016, and it gives Colorado more resources to fight the opioid epidemic. Tipton was a strong supporter of the legislative package while it was developed in the House and Senate. Although CARA takes much needed action in the nation’s fight against opioid and heroin abuse, Tipton considers the bill to be only a starting point.
“There is too much at stake for our families, our communities, and our nation for us to stop working now. We’re going to continue bringing people together around one table to develop real solutions, and we’re going to keep bringing the feedback we receive to Washington to ensure our federal policies are supporting local efforts as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Tipton added.
Congressman Scott Tipton visited Irving Elementary School in Pueblo, Colo., to kick off the Third Congressional District’s Library of Congress (LOC) Surplus Book Program. The LOC program allows for surplus books to be donated to public or nonprofit educational institutions, libraries, and government agencies.
“My wife, Jean, and I have so many fond memories of reading to our daughters when they were young, and I’m getting back into practice now that we’ve been blessed with two beautiful grandkids. Reading can literally open up a new world to a child who has never had the opportunity to travel out of their state or even their town,” Tipton said. “It’s so important that we instill a love of reading within our kids at an early age, and I’m hopeful that bringing the Library of Congress book program to our schools will help do this.”
Tipton will continue to select books from the LOC program that will be donated to local schools and organizations that are eligible to participate in the program. Any school or library that is interested in learning more about the program should contact Tipton’s Washington, DC, office at 202-225-4761.Read More
I recently shared the feedback I received when I asked over 100,000 people across the Third Congressional District if they thought today’s kids are on track to be better off than their parents. What I found out is that too many people in Colorado think our country is moving in the wrong direction. In the House, Republicans have developed the Better Way Agenda to change this.
I discussed the first part of the agenda – to address poverty, jumpstart our economy, and strengthen Constitutional authority – a couple of weeks back. The second half of the plan will allow us to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care, simplify our tax code so most people will be able to do their taxes on a form the size of a postcard, and protect Americans from terrorist threats at home and abroad.
Before Obamacare was signed into law, the president promised time and again that families would be able to keep the health plans that worked best for them. We know this was a broken promise because earlier this year, over 92,000 Coloradans were told they would lose their health care plans after insurers in the state had to cut back their plan offerings as a result of the financial losses they had incurred from offering Obamacare-mandated plans in the marketplace.
The president also said that the law would lower premiums for the average family by $2,500. This hasn’t happened either. And it’s not just the premiums that have gone up – the deductibles have too. The average deductible for a silver plan on the individual market in 2016 was $2,994. How many Americans in today’s economy can afford to spend nearly $3,000 dollars before their health insurance kicks in – especially after already paying higher premiums? The damage isn’t limited to the individual insurance market, either. In fact, the premiums in job-based coverage have increased by $3,775 on average for families.
All Americans should have access to affordable health insurance, but federal control of our health care system has made health insurance the exact opposite of accessible and affordable. Over the past several years, the House has put forward ideas to improve health care, and now, we are bringing all of these ideas together in the Better Way health care plan. Under a Better Way, we’ll fully repeal Obamacare and hit reset. We’ll preserve employee-sponsored health insurance, make Medicare and Medicaid sustainable in the long-term, and give anyone who doesn’t have access to health insurance through these avenues an advanceable, refundable tax credit to help offset the cost of purchasing an insurance plan of their choice.
We’ll make sure no American is ever denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, return more control of Medicaid back to the states, and allow families to purchase insurance plans across state lines to make sure they are getting the best coverage possible. The specifics of our plan are very extensive, and I encourage you to read the step-by-step guide at www.better.gop.
Obamacare has only added to our already overly-complicated tax code. Simply put, our tax code is a mess. There are too many brackets, too many loopholes, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has grown out of control. The Better Way tax plan will help achieve three goals: simplicity and fairness in the tax code, more jobs and economic growth, and a smaller IRS that provides better customer service.
We’ll have only three tax brackets, the highest individual income tax rate will be 33 percent, and the tax code will be so simple that most Americans will be able to complete their annual taxes on a form as simple as a postcard. Small businesses will be eligible for a low tax rate of 25 percent, and the United States will be the best place in the world to start and grow a business again, because our corporate tax rate will no longer be the highest in the industrialized world. We’ll also get federal bureaucrats out of the way and cut the IRS down to three major units: one for individuals and families, one for businesses, and one that will serve as a “small claims court” to resolve routine disputes.
The Better Way Agenda will help put us back on track, but all of our work will be for nothing if we can’t ensure our families and our communities are safe from terrorist threats at home and abroad. The president’s failed foreign policy has made the world a more dangerous place. Once called the “JV team” by President Obama, ISIS is now one of the greatest threats to our way of life. Iran continues to violate the nuclear agreement that the president approved despite Congress voting against it, the administration’s policy on Libya turned the country in to a failed state, and the Syrian refugee crisis has left the U.S. and our European allies vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Under a Better Way, we will secure our borders, keep terrorists out of our country, and address the threat of cyberattacks. We will take decisive action in the fight against Islamic terror by building a broad coalition of international partners who will help us implement a true victory strategy in the Middle East. We’ll also make sure that our men and women in uniform have every resource they need to accomplish their missions and protect our families from the groups that wish to do us harm.
We have an opportunity to restore confidence in America by addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our nation. This is what the Better Way Agenda is all about. I encourage you to read through the entire plan at www.better.gop. I’d love to hear your feedback on any of the six planks, so feel free to give my office a call at 202-225-4761 or write to me through my website at www.tipton.house.gov.Read More
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Scott Tipton was raised in Cortez, Colorado. He graduated from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, where he studied Political Science and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After college, he returned home to Cortez and co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery with his brother Joe. It was through his business that Scott met his wife, Jean, who is a former school teacher. The Tipton’s have two daughters, Liesl and Elizabeth, and two sons-in-law, Chris and Jace.
After a lifetime running his small business, Scott was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives for the 58th District in November of 2008. During his time at the state House, he worked to ensure quality water for the people of Colorado and to improve the air quality of Southwest Colorado. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from the worst criminal offenders by mandating harsher penalties for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from suspects through Jessica’s Law and Katie’s Law.
Scott was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and again in 2012 for a second term.
In the 112th Congress, Scott pushed hard to advance a federal version of Katie’s Law to encourage additional states to implement minimum DNA collection standards and enhanced collection processes for felons in order to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prevent violent crimes, and protect women and children. That effort became a reality when the President signed Katie’s Law on January 3, 2013.
Using his positions on the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Small Business Committees, Scott has is fighting for the issues that most directly impact Coloradans, many of which involve our state’s extensive open spaces and natural resources. In his first term, Scott introduced legislation to encourage healthy forest management and prevent wildfire, as well as passed a bill in the House with bipartisan support to advance the development of clean, renewable hydropower. He is also leading the charge in Congress to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights, standing up for farmers and ranchers, the ski industry, and all who rely on their water rights to survive.
Scott is champion of advancing an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances common sense conservation with responsible development. He passed the Planning for American Energy Act through the House (as a title under the American Domestic Energy and Jobs Act) to put requirements into place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals, based on the needs of the American people.
Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work as a Subcommittee Chairman on the Small Business Committee. Here he has worked to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products. Scott is a co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus committed to open dialogue on the issues that most impact small businesses. Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus are dedicated to advancing efforts to foster the economic certainty needed for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs.
In the 113th Congress, Scott continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation. He will fight to bring Colorado common sense to Washington—focusing on reforming regulation, protecting Colorado’s natural environment, encouraging responsible all-of-the-above energy development, reducing government spending, and removing hurdles so that small businesses can do what they do best—create jobs.
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The majority of people who misuse prescription drugs report that they got them from family or friends.… https://t.co/2gu8DSx9DP
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Public meeting tonight at Florence High School at 7:00 pm. 2006 Highway 67, Florence, CO #JunkinsFire
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Dumpsters available at North Creek and North Creek Cutoff for those who were evacuated to dispose of spoiled food items. #JunkinsFire
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Community meeting tonight at Westcliffe School @ 7:00 pm #JunkinsFire
When I meet with veterans across the Third Congressional District I constantly hear that while well intentioned, the VA Choice program has, in
Drug abuse prevention education and treatment resources were the top issues discussed in my recent meetings on the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic
Did you know that the majority of people who abuse prescription drugs report that they got the drugs from family or friends? If you have unused
My wife, Jean, and I have so many fond memories of reading to our daughters when they were young. Reading can literally open up a new world to
It was such a special privilege to be able to present WWII veteran William Joseph Mehring with his Certificate of Military Discharge in Avondale