Medicare database reveals top-paid doctors

by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

A new analysis by The Associated Press finds that Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors $3 million or more apiece in 2012. One got nearly $21 million.

AP's analysis of the Medicare claims database finds that a tiny sliver of doctors took in top dollar. Just 344 physicians —out of 825,000— were paid at least $3 million apiece, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion.

The news service is among that have gained access to the Medicare database as the Obama administration lifts a decades-old prohibition against its release.

Topping Medicare's list is Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. His relationship with Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey made headlines last year, after news broke that Menendez had used the doctor's personal jet.

Medicare paid Melgen $20.8 million.

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