How the Federal Shutdown Affects Health Care

Updated Oct. 10, 2013

The shutdown of most federal government services has had varied effects on federal care programs.

Continuing:

  • The Medicare program has experienced little disruption; claims are being paid.
  • No delays are currently expected regarding the scheduled transition of Part B billing to National Government Services on Oct. 25.
  • Other activities conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including health care fraud and abuse control, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and activities related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, will continue.
  • States will continue to receive funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • The National Institutes of Health will continue patient care for current patients and have minimal support for ongoing protocols.
  • The Food and Drug Administration will continue limited activities related to its user fee funded programs, as well as select vital activities.
  • The Indian Health Service will continue providing direct clinical health care services and referrals.

Among the activities that will not continue:

  • CMS will not continue discretionary funding for health care fraud and abuse strike force teams. Fewer recertification and initial surveys for Medicare and Medicaid providers will be completed.
  • FDA will be unable to support most of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities.
  • With limited exceptions, NIH will not admit new patients or initiate new protocols, nor will it take any actions on grant applications or awards.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program.
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration will be unable to make payments under the Children’s Hospital GME Program and Vaccine Injury Compensation Claims.

About 52 percent of HHS employees have been furloughed, with grant-making and employee-intensive agencies (e.g., the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) experiencing the most severe impacts. Most staff will be retained in agencies that have a substantial direct service component, like the Indian Health Service.

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