Medicare, Medicaid Would Keep Running If U.S. Government Shuts Down

MONDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) — Medicare and Medicaid recipients and veterans will continue to receive health-care benefits if the federal government shuts down on Tuesday, U.S. officials said Monday.

The shutdown also won’t stop Tuesday’s introduction of the health insurance exchanges that are a foundation of the Affordable Care Act. The law, also known as Obamacare, is ground zero in the budget battle on Capitol Hill that is leading to the shutdown threat.

However, a number of programs important to public health will be disrupted if no Congressional compromise is reached before midnight tonight. They include infectious disease surveillance, inspections of food and drug manufacturers, and monitoring of imported foods and drugs, government officials said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expects to furlough 52 percent of its staff in the event of a government shutdown, sending home approximately 40,500 employees, according to a contingency plan released by the agency. An estimated 38,000 staffers will remain on the job for the short term.

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