If the House of Representatives, Senate and President Barack Obama fail to reach an agreement to fund the government by the time the current funding mechanism expires at midnight on Friday, April 8, the federal government will shut down. ASA has spoken with government officials who have said that Medicare claims processing should not be impacted in the short term by a shutdown because the claims processing is performed by private contractors outside of the federal government. ASA staff will continue to monitor the situation.
A shutdown could occur because the last year Congress failed to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2011. Instead, the funding for government operations has been accomplished through a series of short-term Continuing Resolutions (CRs). The most recent of these CRs will expire on Friday, April 8. For the government to remain in operation, Congress must pass another short-term CR or agree on a spending package to fund the government to the end of the 2011 Fiscal Year – October 1, 2011.
If the government shuts down, only federal employees deemed “essential” will be permitted to continue working, primarily including security personnel. Despite a government shutdown, senior citizens should still be able to receive social security checks.