Health Care Catastrophe Looms, Shnelvar Warns

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The Colorado Freedom

Health Care Catastrophe Looms, Shnelvar Warns

Ralph Shnelvar For Governor
Oct. 6, 2002
Media Contact: Ari Armstrong

Health Care Catastrophe Looms, Shnelvar Warns

Plans by Owens, Heath, and Forthofer would turn current crisis into catastrophe.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, Ralph Shnelvar, warned of a coming health care catastrophe when he addressed a crowd of over 200 October 5 at Women's Vote 2002 in Denver.

In part, Shnelvar responded to proposals described by Kevin Flynn in his October 4 article "Owens, Heath brandish health plans".

Shnelvar said, "With respect to health care, all three of my opponents have two things in common.

"First, none of my three opponents is breathing a word about this looming health care catastrophe. Our state is already in a health care crisis because of government intervention in the health care marketplace. This crisis will shortly become a health care disaster."

Shnelvar noted that according to Colorado-based Peregrine Management Corp, there are about 8,700 practicing physicians in Colorado to serve 4.3 million people. Of that number, 30% of our current doctors are thinking of retiring from full-time practice in the next five years.

According to Aris Sophocles, M.D, J.D., Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Medicine (Denver), thousands of physicians have already lost their practices, their savings, and their patients. (See

Shnelvar stated, "Unless our doctors find some relief in patient load and government regulation, we risk losing more than 30% of our doctors in the next five years."

Dr. Sophocles's study predates the latest Medicare funding cuts. According to, "Medicare cut payments to doctors by 5.4 percent this year. The government estimates that under current law, the fees paid for each medical service will be reduced in each of the next three years, for a total decrease of 17 percent from 2002 to 2005."

Shnelvar warned, "My opponents think that dumping more tax dollars and increasing the demand for medical services will somehow result in better health care when, in fact, the exact opposite must be true because the supply of doctors and nurses is fixed.

"The fundamental problem with health care is that government has choked the supply of doctors even as it has artificially inflated the demand for health services. It is simple math: There aren't enough doctors to take care of all the people who want and/or need health care. My opponents are playing a game of musical chairs with the health care system. Somebody will be left without a seat no matter how much money is poured into the system. The nearly $2.5 billion dollars of state tax money spent on Medicaid in 2003, will not solve this fundamental problem and will just cause the price of health care to rise."

Shnelvar continued, "Recently in Nevada, doctors specializing in emergency medicine went on strike to get better laws with respect to malpractice. I imagine that this will become a nationwide trend. Expect to see far more physicians' and nurses' strikes as these people collapse under the pressure of government regulation, bad laws, and HMO oversight."

"The second thing my opponents have in common," Shnelvar said, "is that one way or another, all of my opponents have spent or want to spend more tax money on health care in Colorado. Unfortunately, spending more money on health care is completely counterproductive. There are simply not enough doctors to serve all the patients that our misguided government's health care system is dumping on our overworked, overtaxed, and under-appreciated doctors."

"We need to take the pressure off of our doctors," Shnelvar said. "Exacerbating the problem, our nurses are leaving the profession in droves and new nurses are not entering the profession. Our doctors will shortly follow suit since they can no longer do the kinds of compassionate medicine for which they entered their profession."

"We need to take the pressure off now. We cannot wait any longer or our health care system will collapse. Unfortunately, all three of my opponents are moving in exactly the opposite direction by pandering to the voters by looking for ways to spend even more money on expanding access when the sad truth is that years of government mismanagement has reduced access because the supply of doctors has been artificially held down."

"By taking the pressure off now and changing the laws so that more people can be doctors and allowing doctors to charge fairly for their services, we can guarantee that the best and brightest will both stay in this hallowed profession as well as come into this profession in the future.

"There is no time to waste."

The Colorado Freedom