Medicare Releases Doctor Payments

Medicare is finally showing what it pays individual doctors; some doctors were paid as much as $10 million in 2012. According to payment records, there were $77 billion in payouts to more than 880,000 healthcare providers nationwide in 2012. The release of physician payment records has been legally blocked since 1979; however, recent court rulings have reversed this decision. Medicare officials have said that disclosing the information “marks an unprecedented opportunity to make the nation’s health care system more transparent for consumers and accountable to taxpayers.”

Federal officials have warned against drawing conclusions about individual doctors from the data, as high payouts are not always indicative of improper billing or fraud. Some physician groups such as the American Medical Association (AMA) have stated their concern over releasing the data.

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