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Doctors Say, Just Give Us Government Money and Stop Asking Questions

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Sunday, 26 June 2011 21:18

The NYT tells us that doctors are really upset that the government is trying to find out how easy it is for patients to get access to their services. The article interviews several doctors who expressed anger that the government plans to have testers call for appointments without identifying themselves as testers. The purpose is to determine how difficult it is for people with various types of insurance (e.g. Medicare and Medicaid) to get appointments.

This is a standard practice for researchers. In fact, it would be outrageous if the government were spending close to $1 trillion a year on various health insurance programs without knowing how effective they were in providing care.

While the NYT did interview some people connected with the government testing program, it should have interviewed some independent experts who could have reaped ridicule on the doctors. Of course no one forces the doctors to practice medicine in the United States. If they find the government too intrusive, as several complained, then they have the option to work in Canada, the United Kingdom or any other wealthy country and earn about half as much.

Comments (5)Add Comment
¿"reap ridicule on"?
written by JHM, June 27, 2011 4:41
Tusk, tusk.
Free Choice Not Free Unless It's Tested
written by izzatzo, June 27, 2011 5:18
The article interviews several doctors who expressed anger that the government plans to have testers call for appointments without identifying themselves as testers.


The testers are obviously from the FBI who don't have to identify themselves and legally can use fake IDs to investigate the terrorism associated with monopoly practices by the AMA which force all medical choices to be made from the supply side rather than the demand side.
An interesting trend
written by Matt, June 27, 2011 9:57
This isn't the first time that conservatives have gone totally bananas about government oversight of where spending goes - one almost wonders if they WANT to loosen things up to produce more of the wastefraudandabuse (all one word - listen to them say it sometime) they love to attack government for...
Fraud or testing?
written by denim, June 27, 2011 12:42
The test method is basically fraud perpetrated on the doctor's office help. There are legitimate ways to get the data. 1. A hot line to take down actual complaints 2. Actually help real patients make real appointments and take down the data. [sneaky, but can be done without lying or other mendacities]
...
written by Angelpine, June 28, 2011 3:25
@denim: And what do you think about undercover operations to uncover, say, bribery or drug dealing or fencing stolen property, not to mention violations of arms control laws? And how very much more expensive do you think it would be to find "real patients" and supervise them during their contacts with the health provider? Yes, it adds a cost to some blameless doctors, but it's trivial; and the very fact that such a survey *might* be made will reduce provider misconduct enormously.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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