Author Topic: Ending improper federal payments could eliminate billions in waste and fraud  (Read 158 times)

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Offline happyg

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Veronique de Rugy
Earned Income Tax Credit
National School Lunch Program
Unemployment Insurance
Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Supplemental Security Income
Fee-for-ServiceChildren's Health Insurance Program
Rental Housing Assistance Programs
Food stamps
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit
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Those worried that the federal government has gotten too big to manage likely weren't reassured in September when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed there is nothing left to cut from the almost $3.8 trillion-a-year budget for fiscal 2014.

“The cupboard is bare. There are no more cuts to make. It's really important that people understand that,” Pelosi said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" news program.

In fact, President Obama's Office of Management and Budget reported in 2012 that the federal government misspent more than $100 billion in taxpayer funds that year.
That means 2.9 percent of what the government spent in 2012 was lost to overpayments to beneficiaries and money given to people who didn’t qualify for the support. And that’s just the improper spending that they caught!

To illustrate the scale of the problem, my colleague Jason Fichtner and I produced the accompanying chart.

Using data from the OMB's listing of high-error programs, the chart shows the amount and rates of improper payments from federal transfer programs.

It’s shocking enough to see how many tax dollars are wasted every year, but it’s even more shocking when you look more closely at the details.

First, this $100 billion spending in improper payments isn’t an isolated event.

Each year, OMB and Government Accountability Office reports have been pointed out billions of dollars wasted in improper payments. The annual numbers have not been getting much better.

From 2004 to 2012, the annual improper payments totaled between nearly $40 billion and just over $120 billion, with a $42 billion average between 2004 and 2007, and a $105.4 billion average from 2008 to 2012.

Second, health care programs top the charts in improper payment amounts. Medicare fee-for-service, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid wasted a combined $61.9 billion in 2012.

These high error rates in government-run health care programs come as the federal government is expanding its reach into the health-care market with the Affordable Care Act.

Amazingly, federal officials, including some congressmen, are resisting efforts to end wasteful spending in government and by Medicare providers, as Citizens Against Government Waste's Leslie Paige documented in detail.

“Medicare providers, particularly hospitals, which have for years received billions in improper overpayments, now fully appreciate that new auditing and recovery techniques dramatically inhibit the flow of those overpayments,” Paige said.

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Online Oceander

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The cupboard ain't bare; there are, theoretically, another $3.8 trillion dollars in cuts that could be made to the budget.  As a practical matter that won't happen, but it belies Herr Pelosi's rather disingenuous statement.

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