The Journal Sues To Release Medicare Billing Data

I’ve been writing alot about Medicare fraud because it is a problem that costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year. Despite soaring Medicare costs, Americans are prevented from seeing exactly where their taxes go. Under a three-decade-old court order, Medicare cannot publish the billings of individual physicians who participate in the program. The explanation is that full disclosure violates the physicians right to privacy. The Wall Street Journal has published a series of articles that explores Medicare’s vast databases and shows how they can be used to expose potential fraud and waste (see post from Dec 21, 2010).

Now, the Journal has taken it one step further. It has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the middle district of Florida to open Medicare databases. Hopefully, the court takes a different position and unseals the records. After all, it’s our tax dollars that fund Medicare. Physicians not only receive a good part of their income from Medicare but they also get their medical training from Medicare dollars. Docs work for us and if they cannot police themselves it is up to us, the patients, to do so. Let’s stop wasting money and putting lives at risk-identify unscrupulous doctors and remove them from their practices.

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