Shutting down the government won’t shut down the health-care law.
In a quirk of the calendar, the start of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act and the first day of a shutdown would fall on the same day, Oct. 1. The good news for President Barack Obama is that cutting off funds for non-essential government programs in a shutdown wouldn’t stop funding for implementing his health care law, health policy experts said.
“A shutdown per se doesn’t stop the Affordable Care Act,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who now leads the American Action Forum, a Washington advocacy group opposed to the health law.
That’s because the 2010 law relies primarily on mandatory spending, which congressional inaction can’t stop. It’s the budget category used for benefits such as Medicare and Social Security.
If some Republicans succeed in shutting down the government, opponents of the health-care law can’t rely on a closure to impede the ability of new insurance exchanges to link with other agencies.