House Bill Would Boost Medicare Claims Data Transparency
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is co-sponsoring the bipartisan legislation.
The bill-- which has been referred to the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees - is identical to a companion bill (S 1180) introduced last month in the Senate (Carlson, "Vital Signs," Modern Healthcare, 7/29).
Last month, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) -- sponsors of the Senate measure -- said that despite federal efforts to boost access to Medicare data and a recent ruling by a federal judge that such information should be publicly available, more still needs to be done to improve claims data transparency.
Grassley and Wyden said their bill would require HHS to create a no-cost, searchable database of Medicare claims. The legislation also would clarify that Medicare payments are not exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
The bill would require that the database be made available to the public no later than Dec. 31, 2014 (California Healthline, 6/25).
Reaction to Bills
Proponents say the House and Senate measures to boost Medicare claims transparency could lead to:
- Stricter scrutiny of high-cost providers; and
- Additional insight on which Medicare providers have the best clinical track records.
However, the American Medical Association has long opposed such a database, arguing that the data can be misleading and that disclosing the information would violate physicians' privacy ("Vital Signs," Modern Healthcare, 7/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.