$100 billion worth of mistakes

  • 24 July 2018
  • NormanL

It's no secret the federal government writes checks it shouldn't have. This is sometimes lumped together as waste, fraud, and abuse. But just how much money are we talking about? The Congressional Research Service has a new study giving us the bad news: about $100 billion per year, and roughly $1.3 trillion since 2004. 

The biggest offenders: Medicare and Medicaid, each of which had more than $36 billion in improper payments in 2017. 

The government has cut its so-called "error rate" by more than 5 percent, so some progress has been made. But as the CRS notes:

...13 years after agencies first reported improper payment rates and amounts, the government still issues more than $100 billion a year in improper payments.

That's a significant, constant drain on the federal purse. We get it -- mistakes happen. But not all of this is a mistaken payment, a duplicate payment, or payment for a service not rendered. Some is outright fraud. Regardless of the cause, cutting the mistakes, and tightening oversight, is critical...because with trillion dollar deficits on the horizon, we simply can't afford to keep throwing away all that borrowed money.