Just the News posted an article today about ‘improper payments’ made by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2019.
The article reports:
The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.
This week, our award goes to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for spending $106.7 billion on improper payments during 2019.
Improper payments are defined under federal law as “payments made by the government to the wrong person, in the wrong amount, or for the wrong reason.”
The article continues:
According to a new report from Open the Books, improper payments from the Medicaid and Medicare programs have increased significantly in the past decade, in part due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — also called Obamacare. In 2011, when the act was signed into law, Congress declared it would help pay for the expensive plan by rooting out waste, fraud and corrupt spending within the Medicare and Medicaid sections of the agency.
Health and Human Services is the leading source of improper payments in the entire U.S. government, dwarfing by a magnitude of multiples the second-worst offender, which in 2019 was the Department of Treasury.
You would think that if they realized that they were ‘improper payments’, they would be able to get the money back. You would be wrong, but you might think that.
The article explains:
Once the taxpayer money is mistakenly spent, it is very hard for the government to claw it back. Of the $106.7 billion HHS squandered on improper payments in fiscal year 2019, it has been able to identify for recovery only $14.1 billion, or about 13.2% of the total. Of that $14.1 billion, the department has been able to “recapture” about $12.1 billion.
We need to put a bunch of accountants in charge of our government. Maybe they could straighten this mess out.