Medical secret police calling doctors

The federal government is conducting a stealth survey, calling up doctors and lying to them, seeking a way to catch doctors turning down Medicare and Medicaid patients, now that ObamaCare will be vastly expanding the number of people seeking treatment but paying with government programs that pay substantially less than private insurance. But don't worry, the new secret police promise that they will keep the data produced by their deceptive tactics confidential.

The details are found in a New York Times story by Robert Pear:

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.

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.

It is all too easy to see where this is leading. Having expanded demand without addressing the supply of doctors, and paying less for that expanded demand than market prices, the Obama administration needs a fall guy, and doctors fit the bill.

Some of the liars calling doctors will say they have the symptoms associated with pneumonia, something requiring a medical visit. All the better to scapegoat doctors who decline to see a Medicare or Medicaid patient.  Others will follow scripts with more benign symptoms.

To make sure they are not detected, secret shoppers will hide their telephone numbers by blocking caller ID information.

Eleven percent of the doctors will be called a third time. The callers will identify themselves as calling "on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services." They will ask whether the doctors accept private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, and whether they take "self-pay patients." The study will note any discrepancies between those answers and the ones given to mystery shoppers.

Can you say, "Gotcha!"

Hat tip: JT

The federal government is conducting a stealth survey, calling up doctors and lying to them, seeking a way to catch doctors turning down Medicare and Medicaid patients, now that ObamaCare will be vastly expanding the number of people seeking treatment but paying with government programs that pay substantially less than private insurance. But don't worry, the new secret police promise that they will keep the data produced by their deceptive tactics confidential.

The details are found in a New York Times story by Robert Pear:

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.

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.

It is all too easy to see where this is leading. Having expanded demand without addressing the supply of doctors, and paying less for that expanded demand than market prices, the Obama administration needs a fall guy, and doctors fit the bill.

Some of the liars calling doctors will say they have the symptoms associated with pneumonia, something requiring a medical visit. All the better to scapegoat doctors who decline to see a Medicare or Medicaid patient.  Others will follow scripts with more benign symptoms.

To make sure they are not detected, secret shoppers will hide their telephone numbers by blocking caller ID information.

Eleven percent of the doctors will be called a third time. The callers will identify themselves as calling "on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services." They will ask whether the doctors accept private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, and whether they take "self-pay patients." The study will note any discrepancies between those answers and the ones given to mystery shoppers.

Can you say, "Gotcha!"

Hat tip: JT

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