The Hill, June 6, 2014

In April 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data for payments Medicare made to doctors and outpatient providers nationally in 2012. The release touched off a series of discussions that focused on outlier physicians, have led to investigations of care patterns and calls for caution in using such data, all prompting CMS officials to defend their release. It is unclear what the impact of such a release will be, but much of the public doesn't understand that the unprecedented data release excludes the payment data for three in 10 Medicare beneficiaries — those enrolled in Medicare's private insurance option, Medicare Advantage (MA).

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