OMB touts $17.6 billion in savings from Campaign to Cut Waste

The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday reported that it had prevented $17.6 billion worth of what would have been improper payments in fiscal 2011, the latest achievement of the Obama administration's six-month-old Campaign to Cut Waste.

Savings from thwarted payment errors, chiefly in Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants and food stamps, put the administration on track to meet its goal of $50 billion in prevented improper payments by 2012, OMB said in a statement.

"When the president and I launched the Campaign to Cut Waste, we knew success would be measured by results, not rhetoric," Vice President Joe Biden said. "The sharp reduction in payment errors announced today demonstrates this administration is serious about cutting waste."

OMB Director Jack Lew stressed the importance of technology in saving money.

"Through aggressive and innovative solutions being deployed by federal agencies, we are on track to meet the president's bold directive to prevent $50 billion in payment errors by the end of 2012," he said. "This is a good step, but not the end. We will continue to work day and night to prevent taxpayer dollars from being wasted in payments to the wrong people or in the wrong amount."

Specifically, OMB said, agencies cumulatively have:

  • Cut the 2011 governmentwide error rate to 4.7 percent, a sharp decrease from the 2010 error rate of 5.3 percent and the 2009 error rate of 5.42 percent;
  • Prevented $17.6 billion in wasteful payments as a result of the declining error rate (for a total of $20 billion since 2009); and
  • Recaptured more than $1.2 billion in overpayments from government contractors last year.

"Federal agencies are increasing scrutiny of payments by initiating more robust audits, leveraging new technologies, or building partnerships with states focused on improved program integrity," OMB said.

The achievement was announced as part of the Obama's We Can't Wait campaign, highlighting the administration's effort to govern despite deadlock in Congress. Officials called on Congress to enact other anti-waste proposals from President Obama's February budget. "Until Congress acts, we will continue doing everything in our power to save money on behalf of the American people," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

She announced that HHS is setting up four additional pilot programs to reduce error rates and cut Medicare and Medicaid waste and fraud. They include greater use of payment screening by private inspectors through the Recovery Audit Contractors program, a pilot program to allow some hospitals to bill claims incorrectly filed as inpatient claims under the outpatient program, tighten the process for approving payments for medical equipment with high error rates, and work with states to better focus resources in fraud detection.

In addition, Lew directed agencies to step up oversight of contractors to curb risk of waste, fraud and abuse, including stepped-up use of the suspension and debarment tool against dishonest contractors.

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

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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