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Released data reveals millions in profits by Medicare docs

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Reuters reported on April 9, 2014, new data which has been released shows U.S. doctors earn millions of dollars from Medicare. Following decades of litigation and over objections of the American Medical Association, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has made public for the first time how much Medicare pays individual doctors. This massive data release, which totals nearly 10 million lines, also provides which medical services each of more than 880,000 physicians and other healthcare providers nationwide billed Medicare for in 2012.

The highest amount of money Medicare paid an individual provider in 2012 was $20.8 million to an ophthalmologist in south Florida. And according to a Reuters review of the data a family-practice doctor in Maryland may have received an average of greater than $86,000 per patient that year. A California laboratory apparently received $190 million in payments in 2012, which was the most Medicare paid a single entity that year. And a New Jersey pathologist received $12.6 million performing tissue exams and other tests. While adding transparency to the health care industry, this data is anticipated to offer insights to where waste and fraud are most rampant not only in the Medicare program but also throughout the entire American healthcare system.

The Washington Post reports the release of this new data has revealed the Medicare program is the source of a small fortune for many American doctors. The government records which have become public provide unprecedented details dealing with physician billing practices nationwide. Nearly 4,000 physicians were paid in excess of $1 million in 2012, and these figures do not include what the doctors have billed private insurance firms. With data like this it becomes clear why health care drains so much of the American economy.