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Duplication & Cost Savings Medallion

Duplication & Cost Savings

GAO releases an annual report on opportunities to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, as well as reduce costs and increase revenue, for the federal government.


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2019 Overview


New Areas of Concern in 2019

On May 21, 2019, GAO released its annual report on opportunities to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs—as well as opportunities to save money and increase revenue. So far, our annual reports have helped the federal government save about $260 billion!

Additionally, we updated our Action Tracker, an online tool that monitors the progress Congress and federal agencies have made in addressing the actions we’ve identified.

This report includes 98 new actions that Congress or executive branch agencies can take to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government in 28 new areas and in 11 existing areas.

For example:

  • The Department of Energy (DOE) could potentially avoid spending billions of dollars by developing a program-wide strategy to improve decision-making on cleaning up radioactive and hazardous waste to address the greatest human health and environmental risks.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could also potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars by improving how it identifies and targets risk in overseeing Medicaid expenditures to identify and resolve errors.
  • The Department of Defense (DOD) could expand its use of intergovernmental agreements to obtain military installation support services—such as waste management and snow removal—and potentially save millions of dollars annually.
  • The Department of Homeland Security should develop a strategy and implementation plan to help guide, support, integrate, and coordinate its multiple chemical defense programs and activities to better manage these fragmented efforts.
  • The federal agencies that coordinate research on quantum computing and synthetic biology could better manage fragmentation by agreeing on roles and responsibilities and identifying outcomes to help agencies improve their research efforts to maintain U.S. competitiveness in these areas.

View the 2019 Report

So, what's new this year? Listen to our podcast about this year’s report to find out more.


Previously Identified Actions that Could Save Billions of Dollars


Fully implementing many of the remaining unaddressed actions we’ve identified over the years in prior Duplication and Cost Savings reports could each save a billion dollars or more.

For example:

  • DOE may be able to reduce certain risks by adopting alternative approaches to treat some of its low-activity radioactive waste, which could save tens of billions of dollars. Learn more >
  • DOD could further consolidate or reduce the size of its headquarters organizations, which could save over $9 billion dollars. Learn more >
  • Medicare could save billions of dollars annually if Congress equalized the rates Medicare pays for certain health care services (payment rates currently vary by location). Learn more >
  • Limiting or reducing the subsidy that farmers receive to purchase crop insurance could save up to $1.4 billion a year. Learn more >
  • The Internal Revenue Service could save billions of dollars by improving its efforts to prevent identity theft refund fraud.  Learn more >

GAO Contacts

  • Portrait of Jessica Lucas-Judy
  • Portrait of Chris Mihm
    • J. Christopher Mihm
    • Managing Director, Strategic Issues
    • MihmJ@gao.gov
    • 202-512-6806

Action Tracker

GAO’s Action Tracker is an interactive online tool that tracks the progress that Congress and federal agencies have made in reducing duplication, overlap, and fragmentation—and reducing costs and increasing revenue—that GAO identifies in its annual report. Fully addressing every action in this tool would result in tens of billions in savings for the federal government.

Explore Actions by All Areas

Select one or several checkboxes and click "GO" to explore the action items that we have identified by all areas. You can also then sort by status (open, open with some progress made, open with no progress made, and closed) by choosing from the drop-down menu.

Once you click on a specific area, you will see all of its related actions. You can also download the entire Action Tracker spreadsheet file (XLSX or CSV).

Explore Actions by Duplicaton, Overlap, and Fragmentation

Select one or several checkboxes and click "GO" to explore the action items that we have identified by all areas. You can also then sort by status (open, open with some progress made, open with no progress made, and closed) by choosing from the drop-down menu.

Once you click on a specific area, you will see all of its related actions. You can also download the entire Action Tracker spreadsheet file (XLSX or CSV).

Explore Actions by Cost Savings and Revenue Enhancements

Select one or several checkboxes and click "GO" to explore the action items that we have identified by all areas. You can also then sort by status (open, open with some progress made, open with no progress made, and closed) by choosing from the drop-down menu.

Once you click on a specific area, you will see all of its related actions. You can also download the entire Action Tracker spreadsheet file (XLSX or CSV).

Background


About This Work

The federal government is spending a lot more money than it is collecting, and addressing this imbalance will require changes to both federal spending and revenue policies.

However, Congress and federal agencies could act now to address federal programs or activities that are fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative—which would save the government billions of dollars.

The total savings associated with this work is a rough estimate based on a variety of sources. For more information on our methods for calculating these savings, please visit our report.

Definitions of Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication

Duplication Definitions

Related Links & Prior Year Reports