May 21 (UPI) -- The Government Accountability Office said Tuesday that government reforms have saved $262 billion since 2010, and could save billions more.
The annual report, which identifies ways the federal government could save money in areas of "fragmentation, overlap, and duplication," found that reforms saved $216 billion in 2010 through 2018, with another $46 billion projected savings projected to accrue in 2019 and future years.
The report noted that "significant progress has been made in addressing many of the 805 actions that GAO identified from 2011 to 2018 to reduce costs, increase revenues and improve agencies' operating effectiveness," including fully addressing 436 of those actions and partially addressing 185 actions.
Still, "further steps are needed," the report said, referring to the remaining actions.
The report identified 98 new steps that Congress and executive branch agencies could take to save billions.
Among these steps, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services could save billions annually by equalizing the rates Medicare pays for certain healthcare services, which often vary depending on which service is performed.
Another example, was considering passing legislation that prohibits people from collecting both disability insurance and unemployment benefits for the same period to save $2.5 billion over 10 years.
The report also said that the Department of Defense could save $9.4 billion by consolidating its headquarters.
With the federal deficit rising to $897 billion this year and expected to surpass $1 trillion in another three years, according to Congressional Budget Office report Monday, budget watchdogs note, improving efficiency only solves part of the problem.
Still, the GAO said that additional cost-cutting and efficiency will also create other benefits.
"Addressing the remaining actions could lead to other benefits as well, such as increased public safety, better homeland and national security, and more effective delivery of services," the report stated.