Nearly Two Thirds of 2013 Government Waste, Fraud Came from HHS
by Edwin Mora 5 Jan 2014, 11:50 AM PDT
The estimated amount of taxpayer-funded payments that the federal government doled out through fraud, waste, and errors slightly decreased in 2013 to $106 billion from $108 billion the previous year, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
On Dec. 31, FederalTimes.com reported the estimated government-wide improper payments dollar figure for fiscal 2013, citing Frank Benenati, an OMB spokesman as the source.
Benenati did not provide a breakdown of the 2013 payment errors by government program, saying that information would not be available for weeks, according to the FederalTimes.com article.
However, an analysis of government financial data by Breitbart News found that the Department of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) was the primary driving force behind all federal payments considered improper in fiscal 2013.
On Jan. 2, Breitbart News reported that HHS made an estimated $65.3 billion in payment errors that year.
The HHS improper payments amounted to 62 percent of all government-wide payment errors in 2013.
HHS was also the primary contributor to the estimated government-wide improper payments in 2012.
The $64.8 billion in mistakenly disbursed funds by HHS that year made up 60 percent of the total $108 billion in erroneous payments.
In an official blog post published in the afternoon on Friday, Dec.20, Beth Cobert, the OMB deputy director, touted that that the the improper payment rate had "declined to 3.53 percent in FY 2013 when factoring in Department of Defense commercial payments, compared to 3.74 percent in FY 2012 under the same accounting.”
Cobert did not report the 2013 improper payments in dollar figures that day. The $106 billion in fiscal 2013 improper payments has not been officially published by OMB.
Instead, Cobert focused on the rate, which refers to improper payments as a percentage of all government payments.
Cobert mentioned that “agencies recovered more than $22 billion in overpayments through payment recapture audits and other methods in FY 2013.”
She further added that in 2013, the Obama administration slashed improper payments for numerous major programs.
Namely, “Medicaid, Medicare Advantage (Part C), Unemployment Insurance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - Food Stamps), Pell Grants, and two Social Security programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.”
Again, she did not mention any related dollar figures.
The erroneous payment rate has fallen by more than a third from 5.42 in FY 2009 to 3.53 in FY 2013, according to the figures in the OMB blog post.
It was not until recently that OMB included Pentagon payments to contractors in its improper payment estimates, reported FederatTimes.com.
Furthermore, the article noted that OMB Controller Danny Werfel has said that “only about one-third of improper payments are generally recoverable."
Although OMB has not released a breakdown of 2013 improper payments by individual federal agencies and programs, Breitbart News has been running a series focusing on exposing that information.
So far, Breitbart News has reported 2013 improper payments for the following government entities: HHS ($65 billion); U.S Department of Agriculture ($6.2 billion); and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management ($353 million).