Bills Push Medicare Data Access - WSJ.com
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"Two senators, a Republican and a Democrat, are pushing legislation to overturn a 1979 court injunction that bars the public from seeing what individual physicians earn from Medicare. That data, commonly known as the Medicare claims database, is widely considered one of the best tools for identifying fraud and abuse in the $500 billion federal health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled....In an interview, Mr. Grassley said the intent of his legislation "is to change the court decision" that has barred public access to the claims data. "The intention is to make government transparent, because with transparency there comes accountability. And the fact of the matter is that there is billions of dollars of Medicare fraud, and we think it will help us get at the fraud," he said. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said he had also drafted legislation "designed to make [the Medicare claims] database public," an effort he described as "a taxpayer-rights issue." He said he planned to talk with Mr. Grassley to see if they could join forces, adding, "I believe we can have a bipartisan bill on this." Both Mr. Grassley and Mr. Wyden said they weren't seeking the public release of data related to patients, and that they supported patient privacy protections...."