Lee Kirksey, MD  
Cleveland , OH

Specialties: Peripheral Arterial Disease, PAD

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Obama Administration halts plans to spy on doctors based upon strong national feedback

Jul 03, 2011 - 11 comments

obama administration




healthcare reform


insurance reform

The Obama administration has decided to halt plans to survey physicians offices largely due to negative feedback that the administration has received and the longterm political implications.  Issues that affect Americans only change when individuals voice their feedback in forums like we have here on  Medhelp. However, this is not the last of this issue.  Please share via facebook and twitter this posting to continue to grow the feedback on this issue. Regardless of how people feel about the core issue, most don't like the "spying" connotation. We all know that if they are spying on our neighbor, they are probably spying on us.

Administration Halts Survey of Making Doctor Visits
Published: June 28, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Tuesday that it had shelved plans for a survey in which “mystery shoppers” posing as patients would call doctors’ offices to see how difficult it was to get appointments.

U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors (June 27, 2011) “We have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” the Department of Health and Human Services said late Tuesday.

The decision, after criticism from doctors and politicians, represents an abrupt turnabout. On Sunday night, officials at the health department and the White House staunchly defended the survey as a way to measure access to primary care, and insisted that it posed no threat to privacy.


Health policy experts have long expressed concern about a shortage of primary care doctors, including family physicians and internists. The shortage, they say, could become more serious if, as President Obama hopes, more than 30 million people gain insurance coverage under the health care law passed last year.

Having coverage is not the same as having ready access to care — a fact demonstrated in Massachusetts, which has come closer than any other state to the goal of universal coverage. A recent survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society found that about half of family doctors and internists were not accepting new patients.

Plans for the federal survey were devised by the office of the assistant health secretary for planning and evaluation, Sherry A. Glied, and the government retained a big survey research company to help conduct it. Ms. Glied declined Tuesday to respond to questions about cancellation of the survey.

Administration officials evidently concluded that the survey could be a political liability. But Christian J. Stenrud, a Health and Human Services spokesman, said, “Politics did not play a role in the decision” Tuesday.

Doctors and many Republican lawmakers criticized the project, after a New York Times article about it on Monday.

“The cost and proposed clandestine method of collecting information from physician offices are questionable,” said a letter to the administration drafted Monday by Senator Mark Steven Kirk, Republican of Illinois. Mr. Kirk demanded answers to 12 questions about the survey.

Mr. Kirk asked why the survey was needed, since, he said, “there have been a number of reputable studies that confirmed many patients on Medicaid and Medicare cannot find a doctor to see them.”

Source NY Times.com

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Avatar universal
by Rachellle, Jul 03, 2011
I'm glad the plans are halted!  

The United States is in enough debt and spending money it doesn't have foolishly.

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by LosingMyMindInGA, Jul 03, 2011
It's about time they came to their senses about SOMETHING!

Avatar universal
by brice1967, Jul 03, 2011
I never even thought about what 30 million new health care policy holders would do to the system.....  we do know that there are already fewer doctors out there.... oh man!

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by margypops, Jul 03, 2011
Doctors know it wont work ..they will be back once this horror is repealed .To make any plan mandatory isnt constitutional .,I am a tea partier and we are fighting Obama care vigorously .They Modelled it on the British Healthcare and Prime Minsiter Cameron is seeking to change it,to go over to the private sector ....any one doubting that fact can go to the search engine .there is plenty up there about it..We do need a good plan but not this fiasco , where is all the money coming from, this government has to stop spending money it does not have ..it does not grow on trees ..The GOP has to stand firm, no more spending ..

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by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank, Jul 04, 2011
I agree that there are no easy answers. Democrats, as part of healthcare reform, would like to implement insurance mandates. However already, a number of waivers have been granted to provide some relief to large companies. On the other side, Rep Ryan has set forth an alternative program which would privatize Medicare by providing government subsidies. The problem is that the rate of increase for subsidies would grow more slowly than increasing healthcare costs and over time, Americans would be forced to burden an increasingly large proportion of their medicare health costs. Most Americans consume the majority of their health services as age 65.

The overall challenge is that healthcare costs are growing at an alarming rate which is unsustainable and their appear to be no good answers. Or at least all the answers require significant individual sacrifice that hurts middle and low income Americans.  

Avatar universal
by Weffette, Jul 07, 2011
Of course doctors and politicians want this "survey" stopped.  What exactly are they afraid of? Hmmm?  The health care industry (it IS a business) in our nation needs a strategic way to measure how Americans, OF ALL INCOME BRACKETS, are REALLY treated by this "business". The hipocratical (sp?) oathe is so completely ignored, its a wonder there aren't MORE people dying of the lack of care than there already is, ME BEING ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE DYING.
Thank you to the politicians and physicians that afraid to face REALITY. Thank you for helping those less fortunate in having some kind of QUALITY of LIFE.  We are NOT asking to have a quality of life as you all do, just a little quality...SURVIVAL...shall I say.

Avatar universal
by teko, Jul 07, 2011
I got an answer. Single Payor..... Why? I think the current system obviously isnt working. When? when some of those that feel like they are single handedly taking it out of their pocket to pay for some lazy bum who doesnt work, actually experience life themselves and realize that is not the case, The cost of care keeps going up, record profits for the insurance companies who do not lower their premiums. I could go on and on and on, but frankly why bother.

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by margypops, Jul 09, 2011
I would respectfully like to ask a question bothering me and others as to why on page 107 of Obamacare health plan.. ...it has a clause regarding     Dhimmitude  and it says .. that Muslims and the Amish are exempt from paying into the mandatory insurance. I am a  Christian but will have to or be imprisoned or have my assets removed .if I do not pay and also pay a Tax penalty ... what with this Dhimmitude Obama has put into the heath care bill.  .check it out on snopes .com .

Avatar universal
by Londres70, Jul 09, 2011
Totally agree with weffette!!!

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by Lulu54, Jul 13, 2011

Please read up on what it does and does not include as exclusions - specifically it does not exclude Muslims from paying into this system.  Don't let fear  of others of different faiths ruin this discussion.  Emails containing this erroreous message are unfortunately rampant and causing unnecessary anger.

Yes, please check it out on  snopes.com   - dhimmitude does not appear anywhere in this plan.  nor does the word Amish or the word Muslim.


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by HVAC, Jul 13, 2011
It is called the Affordable Care Act not Obama Care. I just met with Anton Gunn of the Director or Region 4 of the U.S. DHHS. The meeting was open to the public. He said turn off the TV and go to HealthCare.gov. It is now law and what is in the law is in the law not all these crazy things people are saying are in it. Who am I a citizen who has gotten involved so I know what is true and what is not. I actually read the bill several times before it became law. There is so much misinformation it is ridiculous. The Obama DHHS is one of the most transparent in history.

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