Medicare Data Release Counterproductive, Misleading, States Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

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| Source: Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

TUCSON, Ariz., April 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) released the following statement concerning Medicare's publication of amounts paid to physicians:

"Medicare's release of data on physician payments serves no purpose except to further the federal government's war on doctors. Doctors are the scapegoats for the program's bankruptcy.

"Most of the high payments are for very expensive drugs for macular degeneration or cancer chemotherapy. Doctors' earnings are a very small fraction of the amount.

"What Medicare does not tell the public is that hospitals are paid much more than physicians for the very same drugs or treatments. This is driving independent doctors out of practice, and patients into hospitals that are likely to care much more about their bottom line than about giving the best treatment to individual patients.

"Asking the public to help ferret out fraud is a sign of the incompetence of the program, which pays out millions to fraudulent operations that are not providing any real services to patients while it buries honest doctors in compliance paperwork.

"The amount that Medicare pays has nothing to do with the value of the treatment. Doctors have been under a system of rigid price controls since the 1980s.

"There is no transparency in the bureaucracy. What the public really needs to know is how much money goes to Medicare carriers and other 'infrastructure' without providing a single doctor visit, xray, wheelchair, drug, or anything else recognizable as medical care. Some think this could be 40 percent of the total, or even more.

"There is no expectation of privacy for either doctors or patients who take taxpayer money. The Medicare data release is one more reason for physicians to opt out or at least become nonparticipating so that they can file non-assigned claims. Then the taxpayer money goes to the patients. Patients don't need the government to tell them how much they paid to their physicians.

"And if patients want to be able to choose their treatment, they cannot allow government to dictate how much can be paid to whom for what treatment."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
(520) 323-3110