During his closed-door, invitation-only Obamacare Road Show appearance before a cherry-picked audience at St. Charles High School in St. Louis today, the president will announce a new anti-fraud initiative:
President Barack Obama is directing federal agencies to expand their use of private audits to detect fraudulent payments to health-care and other federal contractors.
The initiative, which Mr. Obama is set to announce Wednesday on a trip to St. Louis, could allow him to argue that he is serious about cutting health-care costs, a concern of lawmakers who are weighing whether to support the Democrats’ health-care legislation.
Mr. Obama will sign a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to make more aggressive use of “payment recapture audits,” in which private companies under contract scrub government books to find wrongful payments and are paid a portion of what they find.
Under current law, only certain federal agencies are eligible to use this system. The president is also endorsing legislation to expand their use to other agencies and programs, including Medicaid.
The federal government estimates that it made $98 billion in improper payments last year. The audits are on pace to find $1 billion over the next three years, and the White House said more aggressive use of them could double that to $2 billion.
Of that $1 billion, as much as $750 million is from improper Medicare payments.
More details from the WSJ.
No doubt the kiddie stage props will cheer lustily when Obama unveils it.
But if he were so interested in rooting out fraud and saving taxpayers money, why the hell did he wait more than a year to issue his presidential directive?
And given how Team Obama has waged war on independent watchdogs, how long before these anti-fraud efforts get sabotaged or muzzled by this administration?