Sep 26, 2013

5 Days Until the House Republican’s Government Shutdown - and No Solution in Sight

With the economy at risk, only five days remain until House Republican's threats to shut down the government unless health insurance companies can charge more, profit more and give Americans fewer benefits and protections become reality.

  • If House Republican's demands force a government shutdown, they will still get paid but Social Security benefits for seniors who depend on them could be delayed, troops in harm’s way would not get paid, lifesaving clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health could begin turning patients away, the federal disease hotline will go unanswered, and veterans’ compensation claims could go unanswered.
  • If House Republicans succeed in defunding the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies will get to reap big profits from rate increases, pay executives big bonuses and take away health care rights, like coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

“House Republicans showed that they have no problem risking thousands of American jobs to achieve their outrageous goal—giving insurance companies free rein to hike premiums and balloon their profits,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The clocking is ticking, and House Republicans are quickly running out of time to do the right thing for the American people and stop this shutdown that will cost the economy millions.”

Just yesterday, Senator John McCain said that Republicans need to move on because the American people spoke on the Affordable Care Act in the 2012 elections. And even House Republicans started warning Congressional staffers on Wednesday to prepare for a shutdown on Oct. 1.

BACKGROUND: 

House Republicans Passed a Continuing Resolution that would “Likely Result” In a Government Shutdown. In 2013 House Republicans passed a Continuing Resolution that the Associated Press reported would “likely result” in the shutdown of the federal government. According to the New York Times: “After three years of cajoling, finessing and occasionally strong-arming his fitful conservative majority, Speaker John A. Boehner waved the white flag on Wednesday, surrendering to demands from his right flank that he tie money to keep the government open after Sept. 30 to stripping President Obama’s health care law of any financing. […] The House’s stopgap spending measure would finance the government through Dec. 15 at the current spending levels, which reflect the automatic spending cuts that took effect in March, known as sequestration, while blocking the health care law, under which the uninsured will be enrolled beginning on Oct. 1.” [HJ RES. 59, Vote #478, 9/20/13; Associated Press, 8/23/13; New York Times, 9/18/13] 

McClatchy: “Social Security Payments Could be Delayed […] Health Care and Other Services for Veterans Could be Curtailed.” “Social Security payments could be delayed, new claims not processed; in 1996 Shutdown, furloughed workers were recalled to alliate backlogs. […] “Military would continue to work but get IOUs for paychecks during shutdown. Health care and other services for veterans could be curtailed.” [McClatchy, 9/25/13]

During a Government Shutdown, NIH Wouldn’t be Able to Take on New Patients, Begin New Clinical Trials, Answer Medical Hotline Calls and CDC Would Stop Monitoring Disease. ABC News reported that in the event of a government shutdown “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would not be able to take on any new patients, or begin any new clinical trials.” According to the Washington Post, during previous government shutdowns “The National Institutes of Health stopped accepting new patients for clinical research and stopped answering hotline calls about medi[c]al questions. The Centers for Disease Control stopped monitoring disease.” [ABC News, 9/21/13; Washington Post, 9/24/13]

Even as Families Would Suffer, Members of Congress Will Still Collect Their Six-Figure Salaries. “The president and members of Congress are also exempt from furlough and must decide which of their respective staff members to keep around during a shutdown.” [NPR, 9/23/13]


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