Federal Shutdown Likely Saturday Due to Budget Impasse

A government shutdown this weekend looks more likely because of an impasse in Congress over the FY 2011 federal budget, according to a report by Fox News.

The government already is operating on the latest of a series of stopgap measures, which Congress had to pass because both parties couldn't agree on a budget bill for the rest of the year. The latest stopgap expires Friday night.

The GOP-led House has passed two budget bills, cutting $10 billion from federal programs to fund the government through Sept. 30, but the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the bills.

President Obama said he won't accept any more stop-gaps, except for a very short one of just two or three days, and is pressing for a budget measure covering the rest of the fiscal year.

Effect of Medicare, Medicaid unclear
The effect of a shutdown on Medicare and Medicaid payments is unclear. In an earlier report in USA Today said the White House had been barring federal agencies from publicly discussing what they would do in a shutdown.

In early March, before the last stopgap measure, CMS had not given any guidance to Medicare Administrative Contractors, the private companies that pay Medicare claims, on what they should do in a shutdown, according to a report by MedScape.

In the last federal shutdown, during the Clinton administration, CMS did not pay Medicare administrative contractors but the MACs continued to pay physicians and hospitals.

Read the Fox News report on federal spending.

Read more coverage about the possible shutdown of the federal government:

- Federal Shutdown Becoming Likely With 10 Days to Go

- House Okays New Stopgap Bill, But Won't Avoid Clash Next Time

- Stopgap Funding Signed; Averts Federal Shutdown For Two Weeks

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