Administration touts $18 billion success in fraud prevention, announces health efforts

Successes touted Tuesday include:

• Reducing the overall error rate for Medicare programs from 10.2 percent in 2010 to 8.6 percent in 2011, saving $7 billion in Medicare fee-for-service payment errors and $5 billion in Medicare Advantage;

• Achieving a composite error rate of 3.2 percent for the Part D prescription drug program, well below the government-wide error rate of 4.7 percent;

• Reducing the Medicaid error rate to 8.1 percent from 9.4 percent in 2010, avoiding about $4 billion in payment errors since 2009;

• Reaching an all-time-low error rate of 3.8 percent in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, saving $800 million; and 

• Cutting the error rate for Pell Grants went down to 2.7 percent, saving $300 million.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusOvercoming health-care challenges by moving from volume to value Mr. President, let markets help save Medicare IRS Tax Day glitch exposes antiquated tech infrastructure MORE also announced four new pilot programs to reduce the error rate in Medicare and Medicaid. They include letting private inspectors catch wasteful spending before it happens by expanding the use of Recovery Audit Contractors to screen certain hospital payments before they are made; allowing hospitals to resubmit bills to Medicare for certain services when they make a mistake, instead of wasting time and money on appeals for rejected bills; permitting HHS to review certain medical equipment claims before they are made; and partnering with states to improve fraud detection by testing an automated tool to screen providers for the risk of fraud.

"Today we have shown real progress in cutting waste, fraud and abuse, but we still need Congress to act on the President’s proposal," Sebelius said. "Until Congress acts, we will continue doing everything in our power to save money on behalf of the American people."

Finally, White House Budget Director Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE issued a memo to agencies directing them to strengthen their suspension and debarment procedures.