President Barack Obama introduced a new effort to crack down on waste and fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs through the expanded use of payment recapture audits. The initiative is the latest component in President Obama’s commitment to embrace ideas in advancing reform.
In his remarks on health insurance reform in St Charles, Mo, President Obama discussed a new effort to recoup taxpayer dollars through the use of payment recapture audits, which offer specialized private auditors financial incentives to root out improper payments, and have been demonstrated through pilot programs to be highly effective. In fact, expanded use of payment recapture audits could return at least $2 billion in taxpayer money over the next 3 years—double the current amount of projected recovered costs, according to a press release issued by the administration.
The President signed a presidential memorandum on March 10 that directs all federal departments and agencies to expand and intensify their use of payment recapture audits under their current authority. He also announced his support for the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, bipartisan legislation to expand the ability of government agencies to fund the audits with recaptured payments.
“The fact is, Washington is a place where tax dollars are often treated like Monopoly money, bartered and traded, divvied up among lobbyists and special interests. And it has been a place where waste—even billions of dollars in waste—is accepted as the price of doing business,” said President Obama in the release. “Well, I don’t accept business as usual. And the American people don’t accept it either, especially when one of the most pressing challenges we face is reining in long-term deficits which threaten to leave our children a mountain of debt.”
The President’s health insurance reform proposal builds on an array of aggressive new authorities to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in the House and Senate bills with a number of additional proposals proposed by Democrats and Republicans alike. President Obama, in a March 2 letter to Congressional leaders, also expressed interest in a proposal suggested by Sen Tom Coburn (R-Okla) at the bipartisan health care meeting on February 25 to use undercover investigations to further combat fraud.