Sen. Carper Commends President’s Proposals to Cut Waste in Medicare, Sell Unneeded Federal Properties in Plan for Committee on Deficit Reduction

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, commended President Obama for including provisions in his proposal to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that reduce waste, fraud and abuse within Medicare, as well as unneeded and underutilized federal properties.

In his proposal, the President lists several initiatives to strengthen Medicare by cutting waste and fraud. Many of those proposals build on the work of Sen. Carper, including a provision in the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicare’s recovery audit contracting and Sen. Carper’s Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, which requires that all federal agencies consider recovery audit contracting or similar programs in order to recover the estimated $125 billion improper payments made by federal agencies each year. The President’s proposal also touches on several initiatives included in the FAST Act, bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Sens. Carper, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and others, which helps curb the tens of billions of dollars lost to waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid every year.

“The Administration’s plan to save billions of dollars in waste and fraud is a very achievable and realistic part of deficit reduction,” said Sen. Carper. “While we’re seeing the benefits of recovery audit contracting and other tools in Medicare, we need to keep refining our approach to weeding out waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and throughout the federal government. That’s why earlier this year I teamed up with Sen. Coburn and a growing number of Republican and Democratic colleagues to introduce the Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayer Dollars Act (S.1251; FAST Act), which builds on the reforms implemented in the Affordable Care Act to reduce the billions of dollars lost annually to waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. It is my hope that as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction searches for ways to reduce federal spending, it will incorporate the President’s proposals related to reducing waste and fraud in Medicare and consider including some of the other cost-saving measures outlined in the FAST Act. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit to be found in terms of reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending by targeting waste and fraud, rather than paring back the essential healthcare services that Americans depend on.”

The President’s proposal also outlined steps to rid the federal government’s portfolio of unneeded and unused federally-owned and managed properties to help reduce the deficit. Through work on his subcommittee, Sen. Carper has continued to oversee the issue of federal asset management. Recently, as part of that ongoing effort, Sens. Carper and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) sent a letter to multiple federal agencies requesting that select agencies provide information on their real property management reform efforts, including excess properties, underutilized properties, properties previously disposed of and the fair market value of that property at the time of disposition; as well as any agency strategy for reducing the costs of owned and leased property.

“The federal government spends billions of tax dollars annually to secure and maintain unneeded and underutilized properties, and even more money leasing property that would be more cost-effective to own,” said Sen. Carper. “Looking ahead, it’s critical that agencies come up with innovative property management tools to expeditiously dispose of assets they no longer need and take better care of those that they do need. By disposing of unneeded buildings, reducing maintenance costs, and consolidating and re-aligning existing space, we can save taxpayer dollars and make government work better for everyone. The President’s proposal would not only eliminate waste, but also achieve greater savings for taxpayers. It is my hope that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will take this opportunity to transform our asset portfolio in a way that generates significant and lasting savings to the public and contributes to our overall goal of deficit reduction.”