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WASHINGTON — The Medicare program is the source of a small fortune for many US doctors, according to a trove of government records that reveal unprecedented details about physician billing practices around the nation.
The government insurance program for older people paid nearly 4,000 physicians in excess of $1 million each in 2012, according to the new data. Those figures do not include what the doctors billed private insurers.
The release of the information gives the public access for the first time to the billing practices of individual doctors nationwide. Consumer groups and news outlets have pressured Medicare to release the data for years. And in doing so Wednesday, Medicare officials said they hope the data will expose fraud, inform consumers, and lead to improvements in care.