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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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