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Released on March 21, 2019
Border Security: DHS Should Improve the Quality of Unlawful Border Entry Information and Other Metric Reporting
GAO-19-305: Published: Mar 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2019.
The Department of Homeland Security is required by law to report annually on 43 specific measures of border security effectiveness. DHS reported on 35 of those metrics in its 2017 report and generally used data and methods that should produce reliable results. However the report disclosed some, but not all, of the data's limitations. For example, the report didn't indicate that different locatio...
DNA Evidence: DOJ Should Improve Performance Measurement and Properly Design Controls for Nationwide Grant Program
GAO-19-216: Published: Mar 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2019.
State and local crime labs analyze DNA evidence from crime scenes to help bring criminals to justice. At the end of 2017, these labs had about 169,000 backlogged requests for DNA analysis. While labs are doing more work, requests have increased in part because scientific advancements have made DNA analysis more useful. Also, thousands of sexual assault kits haven't even been submitted to crime l...
Homeland Security: Research & Development Coordination Has Improved, but Additional Actions Needed to Track and Evaluate Projects
GAO-19-210: Published: Mar 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2019.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is required to coordinate research and development (R&D) across the department, which helps to prevent duplicative efforts. We found that the department's R&D project information is stored in various disparate sources (e.g., reports, data systems, etc.)—which makes it difficult to identify and track. By developing a meth...
Private Health Insurance: Enrollment Remains Concentrated among Few Issuers, including in Exchanges
GAO-19-306: Published: Mar 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2019.
There may be several companies selling health insurance in a given market, but we've previously found that most people generally enroll with one of a few companies. When that happens, it can mean less competition and higher premiums for that area. We updated our work with more recent private insurance data. The overall story is similar: The 3 largest companies held 80% or more of the market in at...
Real Estate Assessment Center: HUD Should Improve Physical Inspection Process and Oversight of Inspectors
GAO-19-254: Published: Mar 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2019.
HUD provides financial assistance to ensure that affordable rental housing is available for more than 2 million low- and moderate-income households. HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center contracts with inspectors to ensure that the properties are clean, safe, and in good repair. However, there are concerns that the physical inspection process is not identifying troubled properties effectively. Fo...
U.S. Currency: Financial Benefit of Switching to a $1 Coin Is Unlikely, but Changing Coin Metal Content Could Result in Cost Savings[back to top]
GAO-19-300: Published: Mar 21, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2019.
The United States spent $1.3 billion to manufacture money in 2017. Is it possible to save money on manufacturing by changing the money itself? In the past, Congress has discussed replacing $1 bills with coins or changing the metals used in the nickel. Coins are usually cheaper than paper notes (bills) because they last longer. But $1 bills are lasting longer than ever—and we estimate it's chea...
Released on March 20, 2019
Air Ambulance: Available Data Show Privately-Insured Patients Are at Financial Risk
GAO-19-292: Published: Mar 20, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2019.
An air ambulance can quickly transport you to a hospital in an emergency. But how much could it cost you? The data we reviewed indicated that in 2017, about 2/3 of air ambulance transports for patients with private insurance were out-of-network. Generally, insurance only pays for a portion of an out-of-network service. In that case, you could be billed for the difference between what the air amb...
Federal Home Loan Banks: Steps Have Been Taken to Promote Board Diversity, but Challenges Remain
GAO-19-252: Published: Feb 14, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2019.
The Federal Home Loan Bank System comprises 11 government-sponsored banking cooperatives. Local financial institutions can join the Banks to borrow money so they can provide home loans and community credit. In 2015, the Banks started reporting on diversity in their boards of directors. Since then, the overall share of female and minority directors increased. Individual directors voluntarily repo...
International Air Alliances: Greater Transparency Needed on DOT's Efforts to Monitor the Effects of Antitrust Immunity[back to top]
GAO-19-237: Published: Mar 20, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2019.
Each year, millions of passengers travel internationally on U.S. and foreign airlines. Some of these airlines have formed alliances to coordinate and integrate their prices and schedules. Alliances may be granted immunity from U.S. antitrust laws if the Department of Transportation determines that consumers will benefit from this coordination and there won’t be a harmful effect on airline compet...
Released on March 19, 2019
UN Peacekeeping Operations: State Should Take Additional Steps to Work with the UN to Improve Effectiveness and Performance Information[back to top]
GAO-19-224: Published: Mar 19, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2019.
As of December 2018, the UN had 14 ongoing peacekeeping operations involving about 103,000 personnel. The U.S. is the single largest financial contributor to these operations. Our review of Department of State assessments and discussions with State officials found that UN operations generally do not fully meet U.S. principles for effective peacekeeping, such as obtaining host country consent. Sta...