Team Obama Recruits People To “Mystery Shop” Doctors

I wonder if they will ask the question “has the threat of ObamaCare made you turn away patients with Exchange insurance?” Of course, since only about 5 people have signed up through the Exchange, I guess that question wouldn’t be meaningful. How about “do you plan on continuing your practice once ObamaCare takes full affect?” Anyhow

Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

Recruiting? Are they aware of that fact that there are already numerous mystery shop companies out there from which to choose, who already have the infrastructure and personnel in place to easily conduct this survey? Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot that the majority of people in the Obama admin. have never worked in the private sector.

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

As Pat at And So It Goes In Shreveport wonders, will there be some sort of repercussions if they do turn away Medicare/Medicaid/Exchange patients?

Federal officials predict that more than 30 million Americans will gain coverage under the health care law passed last year. “These newly insured Americans will need to seek out new primary care physicians, further exacerbating the already growing problem” of a shortage of such physicians in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a description of the project prepared for the White House.

So, Obamacare will make the issue worse? Shocker!

Obviously, this has annoyed many doctors. They have better things to do than have their time wasted, especially when we already know

In a recent study, the Massachusetts Medical Society found that 53 percent of family physicians and 51 percent of internal medicine physicians were not accepting new patients. When new patients could get appointments, they faced long waits, averaging 36 days to see family doctors and 48 days for internists.

That survey was about Massachusetts and its RomneyCare law. The problem with these types of legislation is that people will use the “free” healthcare for hangnails. They will run to the doctor, at their practice, at a health clinic, at an emergency clinic, or at the hospital, for minor things. Got a cold? Go to the doctor, instead of the local pharmacy. Which is why Health Savings Account plans work, because they make people think twice about going to the doctor for minor issues which can be fixed with a bandaid and a kiss.

In the mystery shopper survey, administration officials said, a federal contractor will call the offices of 4,185 doctors – 465 in each of nine states: Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. The doctors will include pediatricians and obstetrician-gynecologists.

And the data will be used how, exactly? New doctors cannot be magically pooted out from a unicorn’s butt. There are all sorts of theories we can come up with, in how they will use the data, but, one you can count on is that doctors will be excoriated if they do not toe the line, and be turned into scape-goats.

The administration has signed a contract with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to help conduct the survey.

So, they are dumping more “government” money into another government entity to conduct the survey? For an estimated cost of $347,340 (soon to be $2 million or more), that could have provided some nice private sector jobs.

To wrap it all up, I do think some conservatives are hyperventilating a bit (not referring to Pat) over this: the outcome could be a good one: we’ll learn how much Obamacare has screwed up the ability of doctors to see government health plan patients.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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