Sen. Carper Applauds President’s New Initiative To Crack Down On Waste And Fraud In Medicare And Medicaid

Pleased Effort Includes Support For Carper Bill To Expand Use Of Audits To Recover Improper Payments

WASHINGTON – Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, applauded President Obama’s proposal to crack down on waste and fraud in Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs through the expanded use of payment recapture audits. 
As part of his proposal, the President also announced his support for legislation authored by Senator Carper, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, which, among other provisions, would require federal agencies to more aggressively collect federal dollars lost to waste and fraud. Senator Carper has been working for several years to address instances of waste and fraud in this area, most recently holding a hearing on the need for enhanced oversight of the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
“One of the most effective ways to root out rising healthcare costs is to address fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid,” said Sen. Carper. “Just last week at a hearing in my subcommittee we heard compelling testimony about the level of fraud and waste in Medicare. As part of that hearing we identified some straightforward steps to rein in these improper payments and the President’s proposal puts many of those good ideas into practice. Still, there is even more we can do. My bill, The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, will build on the President’s efforts and expand the use of Recovery Audit program to better protect the use of precious tax payer dollars. Our nation must do more to root out waste and fraud at all levels of government. And Medicare and Medicaid will be part of the solution.”
 The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (S.1508; introduce July 2009)
Cosponsors:  Senators Lieberman, Collins, Coburn, McCain and McCaskill.
House bill is H.R. 3393, introduced by Congressman Murphy
  – Improves transparency by lowering the improper payments threshold so more agencies must report more waste, which in turn, better informs the public about its taxpayer dollars and helps Congress find ways to fix these overpayment problems.
  – Require agencies to produce audited, corrective action plans with targets to reduce overpayment errors.
  – Increases the recovery of these massive overpayments by requiring all agencies that spend more than $1 million to perform recovery audits on all their programs.
  – Penalizes agencies that fail to comply with current improper accounting and recovery laws, and would include progress in eliminating improper payments as part of the promotion evaluations of senior federal officials.
 – Senator Carper hopes to move the bill forward later this month.