KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Threatened Shutdown May Not Officially Slow Health Law’s Implementation But Could Trigger Technical Difficulties

Many aspects of the health law will be mostly untouched by the looming federal government shutdown. But some officials are concerned that it could jam up the exchanges' data hub.

NPR: Would A Federal Shutdown Delay Health Care Exchanges?
When the government has to shut down because Congress fails to provide appropriations, only some parts have to close. And those are the things funded by annual appropriations. But the health law was mostly funded with what's called mandatory spending, which is different from annual appropriations. Mandatory programs — which include things like Medicare and Social Security — aren't affected by a government shutdown like the one we're potentially looking at (Rovner, 9/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Shutdown Unlikely To Hit Health Law's Rollout
Getting a passport or seeing pandas at the National Zoo would be more difficult if the government shuts down, but consumers should still be able to shop for health insurance on new online marketplaces. The marketplaces, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's health law, are set to open Oct. 1. On the same day, parts of the government would shut down if Congress doesn't pass a bill extending federal agencies' discretionary spending (Schatz, 9/24).

Politico Pro: Shutdown Could Snarl Data Hub, Exchange Directors Fear
Leaders of new Obamacare health insurance marketplaces say they're still unsure whether a government shutdown would hurt immediate efforts to start enrolling millions of people in coverage just seven days from now. The state-run marketplaces say a shutdown after Sept. 30 wouldn't affect their funding since they already have contracts in place. But they are concerned about the fate of the federal data hub, which acts as the life support system of the exchanges by enabling state and federal agencies to share eligibility information when someone applies for coverage under the health law (Millman, 9/24).

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