The federal government released Medicare payment information to the public for the first time this April.  The now public database of Medicare payments covers $77 billion in payments to close to 880,000 health care providers for 2012.  A notable finding within the data is that 2% of the health care providers account for 23% of the Medicare billings.

Providers at the top of the list were quick to dispute their ranking.  Some claimed that multiple practitioners bill under the Medicare number and attributed costs to the purchase of expensive pharmaceuticals.

Medicare officials said the disclosure was in the best interest of taxpayers.  The American Medical Association opposed this release because doctors were not allowed to review the data for inaccuracies before its publication.