Odds of federal shutdown grow: 5 updates

The federal government started notifying employees Sept. 28 that a shutdown may be imminent due to the ongoing gridlock in Congress regarding funding bills, The Washington Post reported. 

Five updates to know:

1. Many of the nation's 2 million federal workers received the first, formal word of a possible shutdown Sept. 28, according to the Post

2. Some Senate Democrats and Republicans discussed a continuing resolution Sept. 28. The stopgap measure would temporarily fund the government and prevent a shutdown Oct. 1, when the nation's current spending law expires. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the House will vote on a separate short-term funding bill Sept. 29, though it's unclear if it has enough votes to pass, according to USA Today.

3. If Congress cannot reach a deal by Oct. 1, the government will shut down, furloughing 42 percent of HHS staff. The agency said it will retain a "limited number of staff" to perform the necessarily implied work to support Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory health program payments. Physicians and hospitals will still be able to submit bills to Medicare, though they may see reimbursement delays due to staff shortages, according to The Hill.

4. The shutdown will not immediately affect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, according to The Hill. CMS said it will have sufficient funding for Medicaid through the first three months of fiscal 2024. Medicare benefits will also continue as normal, though some administrative actions, such as benefit verifications, would be paused during a shutdown.

5. HHS said it would continue COVID-19 response measures and clinical research during a potential shutdown, while the FDA would maintain drug and medical device reviews. The CDC would also continue outbreak response efforts and lab functions, among other operations. 

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