Bloomberg News

White House Says U.S. Reduced Improper Payments by $17.6 Billion

November 18, 2011

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration said it cut wasteful or improper payments in social and welfare programs by almost $18 billion in the year that ended Sept. 30.

The government reduced errors in Medicare and Medicaid payments, Pell Grant student loans and the Agriculture Department’s food stamp program, the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

As a result, the budget office said savings reached $17.6 billion in fiscal 2011 and, over the past two years, total more than $20 billion. President Barack Obama has set a target of $50 billion by the end of 2012 from a campaign to cut payment errors.

The government in 2011 also got back $1.2 billion of overpayments to contractors, the budget office said.

The administration planned later today to announce four pilot programs designed to further reduce errors, waste and fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Those two programs accounted for almost 23 percent of the federal budget in fiscal 2011.

--Editors: Bob Drummond, Mark McQuillan

To contact the reporter on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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