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Medicaid Improper Payments

What is the improper payment rate of the Medicaid program?

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Medicaid is the federal government's primary healthcare program for low-income people. According to federal estimates, the Medicaid program made $99 billion in improper payments during 2021, or 22% of the program's outlays. This amounts to an average cost of $760 for every household in the United States. An "improper payment" is "any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments)." Per the U.S. Government Accountability Office, "Once fraudulent or improper payments are made, the government is likely to only recover pennies on the dollar." After Medicaid was founded in 1965, the portion of the U.S. population receiving Medicaid benefits for the entire year has increased from 2% in 1966 to 25% in 2021.

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