Hill Panel Presses Medicare After IG Reports Fraud Cost $50 Billion Last Year

Lawmakers from both parties lash out at an official who has just taken over the agency in charge of cutting waste.

USA Today: House Panel Seeks Improved Medicare Fraud Efforts
Improper Medicare payments cost about $50 billion last year, a Health and Human Services official told a House panel Wednesday, testimony that prompted a rare display of bipartisanship in a usually divided House. The traditional Medicare fee-for-service program lost $36 billion, while Medicare Advantage lost $11.8 billion, said Gloria Jarmon, HHS' deputy inspector general. Improper payments in the fee-for-service program made up 10% of all payments in 2013, up for 8.5% in 2012, she said (Kennedy, 4/30).

The Hill:  Lawmakers Question 'Lack Of Leadership' On Medicare Fraud
Lawmakers Wednesday tore into the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) newly appointed director of the Center for Program Integrity for reports of massive Medicare fraud. House Ways and Means Health subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tx.) told Shantanu Agrawal that the agency needs to be more proactive after the Office of Inspector General reported that Medicare fraud costs taxpayers over $50 billion (Al-Faruque and Viebeck, 5/1).

CQ HealthBeat: CMS Fraudbuster Draws Bipartisan Fire at House Hearing
Questioning of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' newly appointed fraudbuster shaded more toward the curt than the courteous at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday afternoon, with Shantanu Agrawal drawing bipartisan criticism for his agency’s failure to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. "Frankly, not to take it personally, you ought to be embarrassed," Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., told Agrawal, who on March 3rd was appointed as a deputy CMS administrator and as a director of the CMS Center for Program Integrity (Reichard, 4/30).

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