Eric Gay / AP

Medicare paid out $60 billion in erroneous and fraudulent payments in 2016, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. An estimated $16.2 billion of that total went to health insurers that participate in the Medicare Advantage program.

Why it matters: Medicare spent nearly $700 billion of taxpayer money on health care services last year, meaning nearly 9% of those payments were improper. A top GAO official testified Wednesday that billing and medical coding errors are especially widespread in Medicare Advantage, which is way behind on scheduled audits called "risk adjustment data validation," and that more needs to be done to monitor payments.

Reminder: Many Medicare Advantage plans are under scrutiny and have faced allegations they are exaggerating patients' medical codes to get higher payments.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
52 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

Meadows on Wray's voter fraud dismissal: "He has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI"

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows dismissed FBI Director Chris Wray's testimony that the U.S. has never historically seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, including by mail, during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Friday.

Why it matters: Meadows' statement highlights the Trump administration's strategy to sow doubt in November's election results by challenging the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which are expected to skew heavily in Democrats' favor.

The next cliff for the unemployed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A program supporting Americans who are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits will expire at the end of the year, with millions still relying on it as the labor market sputters.

Why it matters: The result could be catastrophic for the economic recovery that Wall Street fears is already fragile.

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