$150m not used

Three US territory lawmakers say better usage of American Samoa’s medicaid funding was needed by both local and federal governments.

The lawmakers, including Congresswoman Aumua Amata Radewagen, wanted to know why American Samoa had failed to spend more than $150 million in Medicaid.

That money expires in 2019 if not spent.

Ms Radewagen, Northern Marianas representative Greg Kilili Sablan and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez, challenged American Samoa’s Medicaid chief Sandra Young to explain at a US House hearing.

Ms Radewagen said the issue was about the health of her people.

“I have tears in my eyes when I go in that hospital.

“People cannot get the services they need.

“They have to struggle to find extra money that they don’t have to try to go up to Honolulu. This has been going on for years,” she said.

Sandra Young criticised Ms Radewagen recently for not fighting hard enough to get more Medicaid funding for American Samoa, a claim she had strongly denied.

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