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'Secret' survey to review patients' ease of access to doctors

Posted On Wed, June 29, 2011

The Obama administration wants to know just how difficult it is for Americans to be seen by a medical provider, and to do it, they will recruit a team of "mystery shoppers" to play the role of patients, the New York Times has learned.

According to administration officials in an interview with the Times, the survey aims to determine if all patients are being treated equally. In other words, administration officials want to make sure patients on government-sponsored health plans are being accepted by doctors just as much as patients on private health insurance plans.

But some doctors are opposed to the stealth survey.

"I don't like the idea of the government snooping, said Dr. Ramond Scalettar, an internist who practices in Washington, D.C., in an interview with the newspaper. "It's a pernicious practice - Big Brother tactics, would should be opposed."

Other doctors contacted by the paper said the survey was a misuse of taxpayer money and that government should be helping medical providers, not spying on them.

In 2009, the Obama administration passed the Affordable Healthcare Act, which requires the purchase of health insurance coverage by 2014.

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