Government shutdown wouldn’t affect ACA

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 19, 2013

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A federal government shutdown would not halt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis from the Congressional Research Service.

Funding for the health system reform law would continue, the analysis stated. Administration officials still would be able to draw from monetary sources other than yearly discretionary appropriations to support the ACA’s implementation, “including multiple-year and no-year discretionary funds still available for obligation as well as mandatory funds,” CRS said in a memo to Sen. Tom Coburn, MD (R, Okla.), who requested this research. Some conservative lawmakers have pushed their party’s leaders to block funding that would keep the government operating past Oct. 1 unless the appropriations measure includes provisions defunding the ACA.

Because they’re funded outside of the yearly appropriations process, the tax credits for expanding health coverage in the law in particular would continue during a government shutdown, CRS indicated. The analysis noted that the Internal Revenue Service would continue to collect any ACA-imposed taxes and that its individual coverage mandate and health insurance exchanges also would remain in force.

Other sources of funding beyond yearly discretionary appropriations are available to support the exchanges, CRS said. Starting in 2015, these insurance marketplaces will be required to sustain themselves regardless of the status of federal government operations.

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