Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a bill that would open the Medicare claims database to public scrutiny. The Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act would exempt physician Medicare billing data from a privacy provision in the Freedom of Information Act but would protect patient privacy. Advocates, including the news media and the Center for Public Integrity, say that the database is a powerful tool in rooting out Medicare fraud.

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