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Economist: Disclosing doctors' Medicare pay might be 'pretty damning'

Bloomberg Businessweek, April 9, 2014

The Obama administration's plan to release how much the Medicare system paid individual doctors for specific procedures could blow the lid off one of the most jealously guarded secrets in medicine. Since a court injunction sealed Medicare's physician-pay records in 1979, the American Medical Association has successfully shielded physicians from public scrutiny of how much they're paid by the federal health program for everything from flu shots to brain surgeries. Release of the payment data, coming as soon as Wednesday, should give researchers, journalists, and resourceful consumers their first look at just how much doctors make from ordering all sorts of tests and procedures on their patients—whether the patients need them or not.