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Medicare made $77 billion dollars in payments to doctors during 2012. For the first time ever, information about these direct payments has been made available to the public. The data shows a few doctors received millions of dollars in payments. Several dozen healthcare providers were recipients of payouts of four million dollars or more from the agency. The 100 doctors with the most funding saw a total of 610 million dollars. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made the data available to the general public for the first time in history. More than three-quarters of all direct payments made to doctors in 2012 by Medicare were sent to just 25 percent of medical professional enrolled in the program. A majority of payments were for 214 million routine office visits. Release of the data was opposed for years by the American Medical Association. They claimed release of the information would violate privacy rights of doctors.

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