GOP, Physicians Criticize Administration’s “Mystery Shopper” Plan.

Fox News’ Special Report (6/27, Baier) reported, “The latest complaint by opponents of the President’s healthcare law centers around a plan to have government-hired contractors check up on doctor’s offices by scheduling, or trying to schedule, fake appointments. … The government would have…paid contractors call doctor’s offices pretending to be potential patients and explain that they have either private insurance or that they participate in some type of government program, Medicare or Medicaid.” The callers “will determine whether or not the doctor will even accept them as a patient, and then…find out how long they will have to wait to get an appointment.” Although physicians and others are criticizing the plan, White House press secretary Jay Carney explained, “This is a practice that has been engaged in by a lot of previous administrations.”
Politico (6/28, Epstein) reports, “The plan got low marks from internists and family doctors who say it’s already obvious that there’s a physician shortage and that it’s deceitful of the federal government to launch a mystery shopper investigation.” One doctor called it “government snooping.” Notably, the “plan has not yet gained final White House approval but is expected to yield a final report by next spring. In all, 4,185 doctors’ offices in a total of nine states will be contacted for the survey, which has been contracted to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.”
CQ (6/28, Kenen, Subscription Publication) reports, “Some Republicans are objecting to an Obama administration proposal to use ‘mystery shoppers’ to determine how hard it is to get in to see a primary care doctor.” For instance, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans stated, “Instead of shoring up the current health care system, the Democrats over-reached by establishing a new entitlement that our country cannot afford. The real mystery is this: Will the administration ever admit that the Democrats’ health care overhaul is failing America’s health care system?” The Wall Street Journal (6/28, Hobson) “Health Blog” and National Journal (6/28, Kaplan, Subscription Publication) also cover the story.

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