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White House Proclaims $17.6B Saved in ‘Campaign to Cut Waste’

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Progress is progress in the Campaign to Cut Waste, according to a White House statement released Tuesday.

The administration cut wasteful or improper payments by $17.6 billion in fiscal year 2011, the Office of Management and Budget said. Most of the errors occurred in Medicare and Medicaid payments, Pell Grant student loans and the Agriculture Department’s food stamps program.

Over the past two years, total savings totaled more than $20 billion.

“This is a good step, but not the end,” OMB Director Jack Lew said in a statement. “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.”

As part of the announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services said it is launching four pilot programs it says will reduce errors and fraud in both Medicare and Medicaid:

  • Private companies will begin screening certain hospital payments before they are made
  • Medicare claims incorrectly made can be resubmitted under the outpatient program
  • Medical equipment claims will be reviewed before they are made
  • A pilot project under the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation to test an automated tool for screen providers to detect fraud

The administration’s goal is to save more than $50 billion by fiscal year 2012, and President Obama’s budget request says the federal government could save more than $160 billion over the next decade if Congress approves it.

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