Government shutdown won't stop exchange open enrollment

Despite the looming threat of a federal government shutdown if Congress can't agree on an appropriations bill by Sept. 30, health insurance exchanges across the country will open for enrollment as planned on Oct. 1.

Republican lawmakers have been threatening to shut down the federal government for months, but the potential closing of government agencies became more likely last week when the House passed a bill to fund government operations but strip healthcare reform spending.

"A shutdown per se doesn't stop the Affordable Care Act," Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told Bloomberg.

That's because the reform law is largely funded by mandatory spending, which won't be affected by this government shutdown, rather than annual appropriations. And money for the parts of the law financed through annual appropriations has already been spent, making it unaffected by the potential shutdown, NPR Shots reported.

What's more, state officials operating their own marketplaces expect to have access to funding if the federal government shuts down. In Connecticut, the state exchange should have access to funds for about four months of a shutdown. Colorado officials also said their exchange would continue operating in the event of a shutdown, though they would have to adjust procedures if the shutdown is extended, reported Reuters.

To learn more:
- read the Bloomberg article
- see the NPR Shots article
- check out the Reuters article

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