Free Markets, Free People

mystery shoppers

Obama Administration’s "Mystery Shopper" project to snoop on doctors shelved

This past weekend I pointed to a story in which it was disclosed that the Obama administration was planning to have what were characterized as "mystery shoppers" call doctor’s offices, misrepresent their health insurance status and attempt to find out whether the doctors (all primary care physicians) were taking new patients and if so whether they were taking Medicare or Medicaid patients.

Apparently the blowback was enough to have them shelve the idea (sunshine, what a concept).

The Obama administration will not move forward on a controversial proposal to have “secret shoppers” pose as patients to investigate how difficult it is for Americans to obtain primary care.

“On April 28th, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services submitted a notice to the Federal Register regarding a proposed study that would examine access to primary care,” an HHS spokesman said in a statement.

“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. Instead, we will pursue other initiatives that build on our efforts to increase access to health care providers nationwide.”

While the administration announced the program two months ago, it did not get widespread notice until a New York Times article that ran on Monday.

And that article spurred many to write about and criticize the plan.  Which brings me to this little gem from someone named “Max Read” under the category entitled “Conspiracy Theories” and entitled “Fun new right-wing meme last barely a day”.

Did you hear that Obama wants to spy on all the doctors to ensure that they’re utilizing proper Kenyan medical techniques? No? You must be getting your news from the liberal media establishment, then!

Uh, gee ”Max”, NYT?  And by the way, the point was to stop it and it was stopped.   So for most of the right-wing, a meme lasting a day is fine especially when it ends with the desired result.  Of course, government snooping and misrepresentation ought to be a fun new left-wing meme as well.  But apparently, with a Democrat in the White House, all that is fine and dandy.

Finally, as pointed out by our own commenter John in the previous post, their first excuse when confronted with the plan?

The White House defended the survey, saying a similar technique had been used on a smaller scale in President George W. Bush’s administration.

The irony is delicious.   The anti-Bush administration who rejected all that Bush did and stood for (even while essentially repeating, renewing or simply using most of it) uses that administration as an excuse to do something.  Even a 6 year old would not try that sort of an excuse on anyone.   And the more I watch US politics, the more I see the inner 5 year-old come out.

So, even though “Max” the Conspiracy Theorist isn’t particularly impressed (and tries way to hard to be snarky and amusing about it all), its nice to see that pressure and sunlight can quickly stomp an ill-conceived, intrusive and basically dishonest attempt by government to gather information from citizens into the ground.

In fact I’m very happy to see this “fun new right-wing meme” quickly die.  It means success.


Twitter: @McQandO