"The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can't shut it down," President Barack Obama said in a televised statement at the White House just after midnight on Tuesday.
This was after Congress was unable to agree on a spending bill, causing the entire government to shut down at midnight. The main point of contention in Congress has been the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Some (but not all) Republican senators and representatives in Congress do not want to provide funding to Obamacare despite the fact that it was signed into law three years ago. Instead, Republicans propose delaying funding to health care reforms for another year. President Obama and the Democrats of Congress refuse to delay Obamacare’s implementation any longer.
Thus, we have a standoff… and a shutdown.
"Unfortunately, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility," Obama said in a video message. "It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again."
This is the first government shutdown in 17 years. The last one was during the Clinton administration. That one lasted for 21 days.
The military, President, and Congress will continue to be paid during the shutdown. However, more than 800,000 “non-essential” government employees across the country will be out of work without pay. Gun permits and passports will be delayed until the shutdown is over. NASA’s employees will have to stop working until the shutdown is over. The Smithsonian, National Zoo, and Holocaust museum will all be closed during the shutdown.
But the shutdown will not slow down implementation of Obamacare — not yet at least. Obamacare, Medicaid, and Social Security are all government entitlements that are not subject to annual funding by Congress. So, if you intended to enroll in a health care exchange today, you still can.
Obamacare Open Enrollment Begins Today: Here’s How You Can Enroll
2. Fill out an application for enrollment (beginning Oct. 1). The application will ask you about your age, income, marital status, household size, and more.
3. Pick a plan. You’ll be able to shop plans online and live chat people who can guide you through the process. The format of the site will allow you to compare plans side by side and pick the one that best suits your needs.
4. Enroll. Once you’ve picked a plan, you can enroll in it. Your coverage will start in January.
If you prefer to speak to someone who can guide you through the process, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has enlisted “navigators” who can answer any questions you may have about enrollment. Navigators will be at locations throughout your state that can guide you through the enrollment and application process via telephone or in person.
For up-to-date stories on developments under the Affordable Care Act and how it will impact you, follow Medical Daily's complete coverage.