WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional officials say a $77 million computer system launched last summer to stop Medicare fraud before it happens had prevented just one suspicious payment by Christmas.
That saved taxpayers exactly $7,591.
Hoping for much better results, a disappointed Sen. Tom Carper says that when he saw the number he wondered if Medicare had left out some zeros.
The Delaware Democrat was expecting the system would finally allow Medicare to stanch a $60-billion-a-year fraud hemorrhage. Now lawmakers are worried about its future performance.
Medicare officials say it's unfair to grade the new technology on a single statistic.
When other benefits of the system are taken into account, potential savings in the first six months easily exceed $20 million, Medicare says. Officials don't know how much has actually been recovered.
EDITOR'S NOTE _ An occasional look at how government works _ or doesn't.