A federal report finds errors are made in nearly one in every ten Medicare payments, costing taxpayers more than 19-billion dollars a year. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the findings are deplorable.Grassley says “Any error rate in Medicare oughta’ be unacceptable because the trust fund is going to run short of money very soon. There’s going to have to be some cost savings made in Medicare. We’re talking about the good health care and quality health care for our seniors.” Grassley, a republican, says it’s a frustrating situation, as he’s been chasing down Medicare waste and fraud for years. Grassley says the “crusade” started six years ago or so with about 24-billion dollars in errors, it dropped to ten or 11-billion a few years ago and is now getting right back up again. He says one saving grace is the False Claims Act which he introduced and got passed in 1986, what Grassley calls a “tremendous tool against the fradulent use of taxpayers’ money.”The act encourages any citizen who knows about government waste at Medicare to report it and be a “whistleblower.” Grassley says “Improper payments jeopardize Medicare’s ability to treat a growing population of beneficiaries. They have to stop.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported a Medicare payment error rate for fiscal year 2004 of nine-point-three percent, representing more than 19-billion dollars in improper payments to providers.
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