Obama administration falls slightly short of goal for cutting improper payments

Danny Werfel, Controller, OMB Danny Werfel, Controller, OMB Charles Dharapak/AP

The error rate in payments to contractors, grantees and beneficiaries of government programs has been reduced to 4.3 percent from a high-water mark of 5.4 percent in fiscal 2009, the White House announced on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

The estimated savings from avoiding erroneous payments tops $47 billion for the past three years, Comptroller Danny Werfel wrote in a blog post. This is just short of President Obama’s earlier goal of saving $50 billion by the end of fiscal 2012.

Crediting the ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste, the Obama administration’s “do not pay” list of contractors, and the 2010 Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, Werfel said the president’s “resourceful steps” had cut “payments that are made in the wrong amount to the wrong entity or for the wrong purpose.”

The result, Werfel wrote, is billions of dollars saved in such programs as Medicare Fee-for-Service; Medicaid; unemployment insurance; the earned income tax credit; SNAP (food stamps); Pell Grants; the school lunch program; and Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance. “The administration has moved quickly to deploy cutting-edge forensic technologies to crack down on such waste for the first time in government,” he added. Werfel also singled out the Labor Department’s new partnership with New York state to crack down on improper unemployment insurance payments.

Federal agencies “recaptured a record $4.4 billion in overpayments to contractors over the last three years, due in large part to the success of the Medicare Fee-for-Service Recovery Audit Contractor program,” the comptroller said.

When the Defense Department’s commercial payments are included, the total savings for three years goes up to $70 billion, and the governmentwide error rate shrinks to 3.7 percent.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.