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Report rejects Medicare boast of paring fraud

New York Times, August 21, 2008

In 2006, Medicare officials said that they had reduced the number of fraudulent and improper claims paid by the agency. But according to a confidential draft of a federal inspector general's report, those claims of success were misleading. In calculating the agency's rate of improper payments, Medicare officials told outside auditors to ignore government policies that would have accurately measured fraud, according to the report. As a result, Medicare did not detect that more than one-third of spending for medical equipment in its 2006 fiscal year was improper, according to the report. That would account for about $2.8 billion in improper spending.