Medicare Anti-Fraud Pilot Program Saves $200 Million. Only $47.8 Billion In Improper Payments to Go.


Medicare's new anti-fraud program, which changes the way durable medical equipment like power wheelchairs are paid for, is estimated to have saved $202 million* during its first year in operation, reports USA Today. Great! But don't get too excited. Considering the scale of fraud and payment foul-ups in the system, it's not much of a success: According to the Government Accountability Office, Medicare made $48 billion in improper payments in 2010. Others have suggested that fraud in government health programs costs $60 billion a year or more. Saving $200 million annually doesn't even really constitute winning a battle; at best it's more like firing a shot in the right direction.

Read "Medicare Thieves," my October 2011 feature on fraud in the government's biggest health system. 

*Update: Corrected to say $202 million, not $202.