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U.S. Insular Areas: Multiple Factors Affect Federal Health Care Funding

GAO-06-75 Published: Oct 14, 2005. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2005.
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Five insular areas of the United States--American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands--benefit from federal health care financing and grant programs that help fund health care services to their over 4 million residents. However, notable differences exist in how the programs are funded or operate in the insular areas, such as statutory limits on federal Medicaid funding to the insular areas that do not apply in the states. To help understand these differences, GAO was asked to identify (1) the key sources of federal health care funding in the insular areas, (2) differences between insular areas and the states in the methods used to allocate these funds, and (3) differences in spending levels per individual between insular areas and the states. In commenting on a draft of this report, American Samoa, CNMI, and Puerto Rico suggested the need for additional information on certain issues, such as implications of statutory limits on federal Medicaid spending and a more comprehensive analysis of local circumstances that affect the availability and costs of health care services.

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