20 Oct 2005

American Samoa Governor defends increased hospital charges

10:41 am on 20 October 2005

American Samoa's Governor, Togiola Tulafono, says it is not easy to pass higher fees on to the public but the proposed increases in medical charges soon to go into effect are the least burdensome way of financing the territory's health services.

The governor says an increase in fees for services at the LBJ hospital had been deferred by the previous hospital authority board

He says local revenues and off island subsidies fall short of the amount needed to provide adequate health services.

He also says the imposition of new taxes to fund the hospital would have led to a rise in the cost of living.

The Governor says it is not easy for the government to ask the public to pay higher fees but if this is not done the hospital would not be able to provide an adequate standard of health care .