Vice President Convenes Waste-Reduction Meeting

Today, Vice President Joe Biden convened the first cabinet-level meeting as part of the Administration's "Campaign to Cut Waste." He also announced a new Medicaid initiative designed at saving $2 billion over five years. According to OMB Director Jack Lew:  

HHS today released its final rule for the Medicaid Recovery Audit Contractor Program, a waste-cutting program created by the Affordable Care Act that’s projected to save $2.1 billion over the next five years – $900 million of which will be returned to states. The new program is based on the successful Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor program, which the Vice President announced has already recovered nearly $670 million to date in 2011 – increasing the taxpayer dollars recovered by nearly 800% compared to 2010.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis joined with the Vice President to discuss new Labor Department plans to reduce improper Unemployment Insurance payments by strengthening accountability for states...

As part of the Administration’s efforts to cut wasteful and inefficient spending, the Vice President also asked today’s meeting attendees to report back on wasteful spending practices at each of their agencies... 

By holding these regular cabinet meetings, the Vice President is making clear that each member of the Cabinet is going to be held accountable for both the dollars they spend and making government work more efficiently."

Initiatives like these to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse are very important. Not only do they help to save money, but in an era of scarce resources they help demonstrate that government's intent to spend its money wisely. Of course, as CBO Director Doug Elmendorf pointed out recently, cutting waste and fraud is not a panacea; and it isn't going to make a major dent in our fiscal picture. But it's a start, and we hope to see more of it in the coming weeks and months.