13 Dec 2010

US officials looking into funding for off island treatment of Micronesians

10:32 am on 13 December 2010

The US Government Accountability Office is launching an audit to check the adequacy of the funding for American states and territories to provide services for Micronesians.

About 40,000 Micronesians live in US and have visa-free access to the United States as part of the Compact of Free Association with the US government.

The Compact of Free Association provides US$30 million annually which is divided among Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

But leaders in Hawaii and the two U.S. territories say the 30 million reimburses them for only a fraction of the cost to provide services.

Congress representatives from the state of Arkansas, home to about 5,000 Marshall Islanders, say the state is spending millions of dollars to provide medical care and public education to islanders.

They have also raised concerns about the need to address ways to reduce the communicable diseases islanders bring to the United States.