B-123199, APRIL 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 510

B-123199: Apr 11, 1955

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PERSONNEL EMPLOYED IN THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE WHO ARE FURNISHED EDUCATION. HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL SERVICES FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT ARE REQUIRED TO PAY ONLY THE CHARGES ESTABLISHED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT. 1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7. IN WHICH YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION MAY DETERMINE THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE ADMINISTRATION WHO ARE FURNISHED EDUCATION. ADDED THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE: AND THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND OF ANY SUCH OTHER AGENCY BEARING THE COST OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS HEREBY MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH REIMBURSEMENT. THE ENTIRE SECTION WAS REVISED AND EVENTUALLY ENACTED INTO LAW BY SECTION 107 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT.

B-123199, APRIL 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 510

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN PANAMA CANAL ZONE - REIMBURSING CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR EDUCATION, HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL SERVICES UNDER SECTION 107 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, PERSONNEL EMPLOYED IN THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE WHO ARE FURNISHED EDUCATION, HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL SERVICES FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT ARE REQUIRED TO PAY ONLY THE CHARGES ESTABLISHED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, AND ALL UNRECOVERED COSTS OF FURNISHING SUCH SERVICES MUST BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYING AGENCY INVOLVED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL CAMPBELL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, APRIL 11, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1955, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION MAY DETERMINE THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE ADMINISTRATION WHO ARE FURNISHED EDUCATION, HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL SERVICES FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT SHALL PAY ALL OF THE COST INCURRED, OR A HIGHER AMOUNT THAN THAT CHARGED THEM BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, WITH THE ADMINISTRATION'S SHARE BEING CORRESPONDINGLY REDUCED.

AS ORIGINALLY ENACTED, SECTION 105 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, 67 STAT. 202, PROVIDED THAT:

AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY IN MAINTAINING DEFENSE FACILITIES IN STANDBY CONDITION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, AND AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT IN PROVIDING SCHOOL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES FOR AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES OTHER THAN THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY AND THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT HEREAFTER SHALL, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, BE FULLY REIMBURSABLE TO THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY OR TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, AS THE CASE MAY BE, BY SUCH OTHER AGENCIES.

FOLLOWING A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE, B-118229, MARCH 3, 1954, TO THE GOVERNOR, CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE SECTION FAILED TO MAKE APPROPRIATIONS OF OTHER AGENCIES AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSING THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IN PASSING H. R. 8367, 83D CONGRESS, ADDED THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

AND THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND OF ANY SUCH OTHER AGENCY BEARING THE COST OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS HEREBY MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH REIMBURSEMENT.

IN THE SENATE, HOWEVER, THE ENTIRE SECTION WAS REVISED AND EVENTUALLY ENACTED INTO LAW BY SECTION 107 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, 68 STAT. 335, TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 105. AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY IN MAINTAINING DEFENSE FACILITIES IN STANDBY CONDITION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HEREAFTER SHALL, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISIONS OF LAW, BE FULLY REIMBURSABLE TO THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR FURNISHING EDUCATION, AND HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CARE TO EMPLOYEES OF AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, OTHER THAN THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY AND CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, LESS AMOUNTS PAYABLE BY SUCH EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS HEREAFTER SHALL, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, BE FULLY REIMBURSABLE TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT BY SUCH AGENCIES. THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND OF ANY SUCH OTHER AGENCY BEARING THE COST OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS HEREBY MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH REIMBURSEMENTS. (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

SENATE REPORT 1373, 83D CONGRESS, 2D SESSION, AT PAGE 25, EXPLAINED THE LANGUAGE CHANGES AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS THE DESIRE OF THE COMMITTEE THAT PATIENTS IN CANAL ZONE HOSPITALS, EXCEPT CHARITY PATIENTS, PAY APPROPRIATE CHARGES FOR HOSPITAL CARE, UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED BY LAW. THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO ESTABLISH APPROPRIATE CHARGES PAYABLE BY THE INDIVIDUAL. SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IS RECOMMENDED TO PERMIT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO REIMBURSE THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF HOSPITAL CARE PROVIDED DEPENDENTS OF MILITARY PERSONNEL FOR THE SERVICES THEY WOULD NORMALLY BE FURNISHED AT MILITARY HOSPITALS IN THE UNITED STATES.

WITH RESPECT TO SCHOOLS IT IS THE INTENT OF THE COMMITTEE THAT THE PRINCIPLE OF FREE EDUCATION IN GRADES 1 THROUGH 12 WILL EXTEND TO RESIDENTS OF THE CANAL ZONE AND TO UNITED STATES CITIZEN PERSONNEL OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES RESIDENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA. PARENTS DESIRING TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO KINDERGARTEN OR JUNIOR COLLEGE SHOULD PAY A REASONABLE TUITION.

IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS CANNOT BE OPERATED ON CHARGES MADE TO INDIVIDUALS FOR SERVICES RENDERED, IF THOSE CHARGES ARE TO BE WITHIN THE REACH OF THE AVERAGE CITIZEN. NORMALLY ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM TAXES OR OTHER TYPES OF INDIRECT CHARGES AND PRIVATE DONATIONS INCLUDING COMMUNITY CHESTS, IS NECESSARY TO CARRY ON THESE ACTIVITIES.

IN THE PAST UNRECOVERED COSTS OF THESE ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN PAID BY THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY. THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES THAT THESE UNRECOVERED COSTS SHOULD BE SHARED BY THE OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OPERATING IN THE CANAL ZONE.

THE COMMITTEE IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDING THE REVISION OF SECTION 105 OF THE 1954 CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE UNRECOVERED COSTS AMONG THE ISSUING AGENCIES. * * * (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IN VIEW OF THE CLEAR PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE AND THE ABOVE EXPLANATION, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE CONGRESS CLEARLY INTENDED THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES EMPLOYED IN THE CANAL ZONE SHALL BE REQUIRED TO PAY ONLY THE CHARGES ESTABLISHED FOR EDUCATION AND MEDICAL SERVICES BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, AND THAT ALL OF THE COSTS OF SUCH SERVICES NOT SO RECOVERED MUST BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYING AGENCY INVOLVED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, IN OUR OPINION, HAS NO DISCRETION AS TO THE AMOUNT OF THE CHARGES ITS EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO PAY.