Sen. Carper Championed Tools to Identify, Recover and Prevent Improper Spending in Medicare and Medicaid as Part of Affordable Care Act; Pushing for Additional Measures to Reduce Waste and Fraud in Bipartisan FAST Act
Sep 14 2011
WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, released the following statement commending the Obama Administration's efforts to curb waste and fraud in Medicaid using new tools provided by the Affordable Care Act and championed by Sen. Carper:
"I commend the Administration's efforts to aggressively root out waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and now in Medicaid using the new tools and techniques provided by the Affordable Care Act. I pushed long and hard to have recovery audit contracting – a tool that is commonly used in the private sector to recover improperly made payments – expanded in the Affordable Care Act so that it would be used throughout Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, $70 billion in scarce taxpayer dollars are lost to waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid each year. That's unacceptable – particularly as our nation struggles with a massive federal debt and deficit. But as I like to say, unlike the weather, we can actually do something about waste and fraud in government. There's no silver bullet to solve these challenges, but there are a number of proven and effective solutions that can help, and with the rollout of this new program, we're taking another important step forward in our effort to reduce waste and fraud.
"Already, we're seeing the benefits of this new program in Medicare as the government has used recovery audit contracting to recover $670 million to date in 2011 – increasing the taxpayer dollars recovered by nearly 800 percent compared to 2010. While this is good news, we can't just sit on our laurels; we have to continue to push to see these programs implemented quickly and effectively. We also 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. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and six of our Republican and Democratic colleagues to introduce the Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayer Dollars Act (S.1251; FAST Act), legislation to continue to build 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.
"I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration as they continue to push these programs to better protect taxpayer dollars and these critical programs that millions of Americans depend on. It is my hope that as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction works to identify areas of the federal budget to reduce spending they take a good look at the proposals 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."
Medicare's Recovery Audit Contracting employs private contractors to examine payments to hospitals, physicians and other health care providers in order to identify overpayments and other payment errors. Initially, the Recovery Audit Contractor program focused on the Medicare fee-for-service programs (Part A and B), but Sen. Carper worked to include a provision in the Affordable Care Act to expand the program throughout all of Medicare and Medicaid. In 2010, the Recovery Audit Contracting program recovered $75 million. In July 2010, Sen. Carper's bill, The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, was signed into law, requiring all federal agencies consider similar programs in order to recover the estimated $125 billion in all agency improper payments federal-wide.
For more information on Recovery Audit Contractor program, visit http://www.cms.gov/RAC/.
For the information on recovery dollar amounts, visit: http://www.cms.gov/Recovery-Audit-Program/Downloads/NatProg.pdf.