- College algebra to be removed from Southeast required curriculum (10/10/17)1
- State declares test results for schools invalid (10/4/17)2
- Child-custody advocate: State law needs fix to provide parents with more equal custody (10/12/17)
- One of Cape's oldest mom-and-pop restaurants opens in new location (10/10/17)
- Past Rowdy the Redhawk mascot's identity revealed (10/15/17)
- Cancer will 'change your life, but it doesn't have to rule it' (10/8/17)
- Police chief, council: Cape Girardeau faces growing gun violence (10/17/17)4
- Bills addressing equal child custody to be filed, legislators say (10/13/17)
- Developer asks court to OK tax district board for improvements near Hobby Lobby (10/17/17)4
- Sikeston singer moves on with 'The Voice' (10/16/17)
Report shows government wastes billions in improper payments
WASHINGTON -- A half dozen of the largest federal agencies squandered $19 billion in erroneous payments last year, and the total amount wasted is probably far greater, according to a report released Friday.
Improper Medicare payments accounted for more than half the money, according to the study by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The government also paid out more than it should in housing subsidies and tax refunds.
The mistakes occurred when government officials paid people twice, miscalculated the amount individuals should receive or sent checks to people who weren't eligible, according to the report.
The improper payments were culled from the annual financial reports of agencies that accounted for most of the government's $1.8 trillion budget. But the actual amount wasted is likely to be billions more since hardly any agencies reveal these kind of mistakes, according to the General Accounting Office.
"Few agencies publicly report improper payment information such as improper payment rates, causes and strategies for better managing their programs to reduce or eliminate these payments," the report stated.
Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., said Congress should fix that problem.
"Public scrutiny is often the most effective tool in focusing agency managers' attention on certain issues," said Thompson, who ordered the investigation.