You may have read in Sunday’s New York Times about plans by the Department of Health and Human Services to send out “mystery shoppers” to make appointments at various doctors’ offices around the country, in the hopes of finding out just how difficult that is these days. These “mystery shoppers” would represent themselves as new to a local area, describe a set of unpleasant symptoms, and attempt to schedule an appointment. The shoppers would purport to have either private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
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.
Fortunately, before the HHS really beclowned themselves by going through with this farce, public outcry (received, no doubt from the time the NYT article was published up until this evening) forced them to “rethink” the idea:
“After reviewing feedback received during the public comment period, we have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” an HHS official said in a statement.
Notice, however, how the HHS phrases their back-down: “now is not the time to move forward with this research project.” Makes me wonder exactly when will be the time to move forward with it? Probably once we’ve all gotten more comfortable with Big Brother breathing down our neck about every medical decision made.
Let’s see: they’re dropping this “mystery shopper” program. They’re dropping the ObamaCare waiver process. Can the repeal of ObamaCare be far behind?
Shut up and let me dream, okay?