Thursday, September 19, 2013

What will happen to Obamacare if the Republicans force a government shutdown?

What would happen to the implementation of Obamacare if Republicans don’t pass a continuing resolution to fund the government and there is a government shutdown as of October 1?
The answer is probably not much.  Implementation of Obamacare would continue pretty much on schedule.  Here is why.  Obamacare is an “entitlement” program like Social Security and Medicare funded by a formula, rather than by specific government appropriations.  In other words, if you meet the requirements of the entitlement, say you qualify for Social Security, then you receive the entitlement regardless of what Congress does about government appropriations.  Of course, there is the issue of payments to federal employess who run Obamacare.  As for the operation of the Exchanges, the Congressional Research Service says they are being funded by long term appropriations that would not be affected by a government shutdown.  Additionally, federal employees working on Obamacare would probably be considered essential workers and their salaries would not be affected by a government shutdown.  They would go to work as usual.  That’s what happened with Social Security workers during the 1995 shutdown.  Most Social Security workers (over 60,000) were furloughed but nearly 5,000 remained at work because they were considered essential to continue Social Security operations, such as process Social Security checks. 

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