The first assumption to your argument is that the payers render appropriate guidance. Such is not the case--just ask an experienced retrospective auditor or denial manager. Payers get it wrong also.
In my mind, a coder's job should be primarily "blind" as you refer to it. Keeping billing and coding functions separate (or in the least, distinct) heads off any tendency to "code to be paid." I constantly see folks on the forum confuse the two duties. One does not equal to the other.
The second assumption is that being paid equates with being correctly coded; this just is not so. The longer I've stayed in the field and the more variety in my job duties, the more I've seen that what's coded, what's billed and what's paid are three independent spheres in the revenue cycle. To code for something you basically need two things: 1.) documentation to support code assignment and 2.) a designated code (or set) to capture the service. Minus coding edit logic, you're good to go.
In order to bill for something, coverage, policy, contract and payer-dependent rules apply. Just because a service is "code-able" does not make it "billable". Lastly, what's paid is completely determined by the payer and theoretically contractual obligation toward the provider.
In each of these elements the determination of quality is judged against a seprate standard. Essentially coding captures charges and codes, billing submits appropriate code/charge sets for reimbursement and payers adjudicate claims based on their independent criteria.
While I understand that sometimes coders are required to use that independent criteria of the payers, it isn't necessarily that the coder's work is validated by that group. Internal or external audits of your coding should be the objective determination of your quality--not the arbitrary and unique rules of the payer group. However, even that statement isn't absolute.
I'm not sure this has helped, but let it serve as an argument in support of a more objective determination of coder qualification than payer response...
Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I