Could healthcare reform shut down the government?

The House of Representatives on Friday voted 230-189 to pass a bill that would fund government operations but strip healthcare reform spending.

The stopgap measure introduced last week by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) would fund all government agencies through Dec. 15 but also would include a measure to cut off funds to the Affordable Care Act.

Although unlikely to succeed, it could delay passage of the spending bill. If that happens, the U.S. faces a government shutdown.   

Senate Democratic leaders will likely wait as long as possible, then remove the healthcare measure from the spending bill and send it back to the House, leaving insufficient time for Republicans to change it, the New York Times noted. While it's improbable the stopgap bill will reach President Obama's desk, he already threatened to veto it if it contains cuts to healthcare reform.

Congress has until Oct. 1 to pass a spending bill and avert a government shutdown. If not, the nation would see the first big government shutdown since 1995-96.

Not everything would close up shop: Some functions that would remain operating during the shutdown include air traffic control, border security, Social Security, Medicare and the self-financed Postal Service, the NYT reported.

Meanwhile, the GOP last week unveiled an alternative plan to President Obama's healthcare reform law amid Republican threats to defund the law and shut down the government. The bill calls for a full repeal of the healthcare reform law and would provide $20,000 in tax deductions to families and a $7,500 deduction to individuals so they can buy insurance from vendors in any state, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For more:
- read the NYT article