Inside these posts: GAO

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U.S. Postal Service cutting 7,500 managers

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Postal Service will cut 7,500 managers and shut the Carol Stream and six other district offices, responding to record losses and declining mail volume as more people communicate by e-mail and texts and pay bills online. The reduction in postmasters, supervisors and other employees represents a 20 percent cut in middle-management jobs — people not involved in actual physical moving of mail.

The cuts come as part of the agency’s previously disclosed plan to close as many as 2,000 post offices and consolidate regional mail-processing centers in the next 12 months. Get the full story »

GAO: Half of health insurance appeals successful

Don’t take no for a final answer when a health insurer rejects a claim and leaves behind an unpaid medical bill. As many as 50 percent of some appeals prompt insurers to reverse their decisions, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. Get the full story »

Prescription drug prices rise 6.6% in 4 years


Prices for U.S. prescription drugs rose at a faster rate than costs for other medical goods and services in the last four years, according to a new U.S. government report.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that the “usual and customary” price index for the top 100 commonly used drugs rose an annual average of 6.6 percent from 2006 through the first quarter of 2010, compared with a 3.8 percent average annual increase in the consumer price index for medical goods and services. Get the full story »

Cotton prices drive up cost of dollar bills

A Bureau of Printing and Engraving employee holds sheets of one dollar bills prior to cutting. (AP/Hillery Smith Garrison)

Sure, packs of T-shirts and socks are getting expensive because of skyrocketing cotton prices. Guess what else is made of cotton? The dollar bill in your wallet. In 2010, the cost of making one note jumped 50 percent from what it cost the government in 2008. Get the full story »

GAO: Streamline the bureaucracy, save billions

The U.S. government could save tens of billions of dollars a year by streamlining a bloated federal bureaucracy, according to a report Tuesday from the Government Accountability Office.

In its first annual report on the subject, the GAO reviewed a wide range of federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives to identify where the government is duplicating goals or activities. Get the full story »

Pols want answers on Heparin contamination

Lawmakers scolded the FDA for still not knowing what or who was behind the contamination of the Baxter International’s blood-thinning drug Heparin, nearly three years after launching its investigation.

“It has been almost three years since the the FDA linked deaths and serious allergic reactions of patients to supplies of Heparin that came from China,“ Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg Wednesday. Upton said the House Energy and Commerce committee, which he chairs, will conduct its own probe into the matter. Get the full story »

Boeing considered underdog for tanker contract

Boeing Co. is the underdog to land a $35 billion contract for aerial refueling tankers that the Pentagon is expected to award as early as Thursday, analysts said.

If conventional wisdom is right, EADS North America would win its first major U.S. Defense Department deal and be the front-runner to replace the entire half-century-old tanker fleet in contracts expected to total more than $100 billion. Get the full story »

GAO: Airlines should disclose all fees

U.S. and overseas airlines should be required to disclose all fees to ensure passengers, are fully informed about how much their tickets costs, congressional investigators said on Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a report that airlines made $1.3 billion in baggage and other fees in the first quarter of 2010, up 13 percent from the year-earlier. Get the full story »

GAO cites deficiencies in FDIC internal controls

A government watchdog has detected key deficiencies in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s internal controls that led to errors in the agency’s 2009 draft financial statements for its deposit insurance fund.

The errors, which involve the FDIC’s estimates of the loss-share transactions it has used to resolve bank failures, have been corrected. Get the full story »