American Samoa's Treasurer has told a House hearing on the hospital off island referral program that the government's general fund can not pay for everything
Magalei Logovii said that what is needed is a special earmarked fund for the hospital.
The hospital's CEO, Patricia Tindall, says they asked for 5.2 million US dollars for the off island referral program for the current fiscal year, but only 1 million was approved.
That money has now been spent and the sending of patients off islands at the government expense has been suspended.
But Magalei told the hearing that the General Fund is treated as a cash cow:
"We tend to look into the General Fund to pay for everything for the government. But somehow along the line, the tax revenue that is being approved to fund the General Fund up to this limit. The only other way then, if you do desire to look for money to help the hospital is to raise a levy. You cannot just not, excuse me for saying something, you cannot just milk the cow and not feed the cow."