Agencies Overpaid by Almost $21 Billion

The General Accounting Office recently reported that 12 Federal agencies overpaid for a whopping total of $20.7 billion in fiscal 1999.

With overpayments up from the previous year's total of $19.1 billion, the reason for the overages is attributed to consistently poor management of funds. Many of the overpayments resulted from Medicare's fee-for-service program.

"It's astounding that more than $20 billion of taxpayer money was wasted in just a handful of federal programs," said Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. "That's just a drop in the bucket; the total figure would be much, much higher. Federal agencies need to do a better job of managing their programs, first in terms of detecting improper payments, and then in stopping them."

To help, Thompson said he would introduce legislation requiring agencies to use "recovery auditing" to identify overpayments.

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