MF: I did my residency at Denver Health in the early '90s, and then I went into a mixed private practice in Atlanta for four years. I came back to Denver in 1998 and was in private practice emergency medicine at Exempla Lutheran Hospital in Wheat Ridge. In 2004, I let my entrepreneurial spirit get the best of me, and I opened a customer-based medical practice. I opened an urgent care that was an ER in concept, except we treated you like a customer as opposed to a patient. I opened one in Lakewood in 2004, I opened a second one in Cherry Creek in 2005, I opened a third in Stapleton in 2007, and then I was lucky enough to sell those to a private equity group at the end of 2007.
Now I'm back working as an independent contractor in the emergency room. I work a few shifts in Wyoming, some in Steamboat, some at Denver Health. I work as much as I need to pay my mortgage, pay my kids' tuition, and pay my bills. And then I had this crazy idea to run for Congress.
WW: Where did that idea come from?
MF: I've been increasingly frustrated with the government in general, and the out-of-control spending. The government is overtaking our personal responsibilities; they're making it a government-dependent society and it's ruining American motivation and ruining the American dream. It came to a head when I was listening to a radio program where they were interviewing Mrs. DeGette, and they asked her about the health-care bill. They asked her, "Aren't you concerned that a majority of Americans are against this?" And she said, "No, once they find out what we've done for them, they'll really like it."
That is a really arrogant and really paternalistic answer and that's what's wrong with the system. Then they had a follow-up question where they asked her how she was going to pay for it. Her answer to that was, "That's the best part. We're going to save $500 billion in Medicare and it's actually going to be beneficial to the national debt." I was beyond irritated because those numbers are made up. If there is $500 billion, why didn't they get it in the last decade? Was that $500 billion just wasted money? Or is that a made-up number in order to balance the books to sell us this health-care bill that really isn't going to do what they're telling us it's going to do. It's either dishonest or it's incompetent. So I became motivated to run against her because she was a big part of health-care reform.
WW: So what is your position on health-care reform?
MF: What they set out to do with health care was a noble thing, but making access available and not making it affordable doesn't fix the problem. The same thing is going to happen as with the Massachusetts plan. Doctors are going to quit taking Medicaid and Medicare because it doesn't financially benefit them, and eventually all of those people will be pushed to government-employed physicians. Massachusetts is a perfect example. They've had the biggest increase of ER wait times in the country. They have the longest wait times to see a primary care physician, and their premiums have gone up the highest in the country. We're going to have this on a bigger scale, and we're not going to be able to find physicians who are willing to take Medicaid and Medicare. I think they set out to do the right thing, but they did it in a completely backwards manner.