U.S. officials, defending a decision to release pay data that suggests some eye doctors made millions of dollars from Medicare, say the list should spur physicians to push lower-cost drugs to their patients.
Doctors denounced the accuracy and value of data listing $77 billion in Medicare payments to 880,000 medical providers, while consumer and industry groups said it could make the health-care system more cost-effective.
Medicare paid almost 4,000 doctors and medical providers more than $1 million apiece in 2012, including seven who received more than $10 million. Eye doctors were among the highest compensated, including one Florida ophthalmologist who received $21 million.
Hospital readmission rates for Medicare patients are dropping after increasing for more than five years as the 2010 U.S. health-care law begins levying penalties for excessive numbers of repeat patient visits.
Less than five months before the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in, hospitals are improving care and saving millions of dollars with one of the least touted but potentially most effective provisions of the law.
Health insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program for elderly Americans, including Humana Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc., face a base payment cut of about 3.55 percent next year, the U.S. government said.