December 12, 2013

Grassley, Wyden Applaud SGR’s Medicare Payment Transparency Provisions

Medicare DATA Act Language Included

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today applauded inclusion of language that would make Medicare claims data available to the public as part of legislation aimed addressing the Medicare’s physician payment formula.

Both the House and Senate versions of legislation addressing the Medicare physician payment formula include the key provisions from Grassley and Wyden’s Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act (Medicare DATA Act). This would establish a free, searchable Medicare payment database that would be readily available to the public online at no cost. 

The database would include all payments made to physicians by Medicare. Patients’ privacy would be fully protected, and providers would have an opportunity to correct payment information before being posted online.

“Transparency draws in the public and invites analysis of policy and spending,” Grassley said. “More transparency has made a difference in accountability in the tax-exempt sector, and it does the same wherever it’s applied in health care.”

“Healthcare, particularly Medicare, is notorious for its lack of transparency,” Wyden said. “Allowing the public to finally see where Medicare dollars are being spent creates a powerful check against waste and a valuable research tool for improving care for seniors.”

Under current law, access to the Medicare payment database is limited to a small number of bureaucrats and academics despite a federal judge’s ruling in favor of greater public access.

The text of the Medicare DATA Act is available here.  Grassley’s statement on the bill introduction is available here. Wyden’s statement on the bill introduction is available here.