Short Federal Shutdown Wouldn't Harm Medicare, Medicaid Payment

If the government were forced to shut down Friday at midnight, it would not affect Medicare and Medicaid payments for the short term, at least, according to a report by NPR.

The Office of Management and Budget said Medicare and Medicaid, as entitlement programs, are not funded by the annual appropriations process, which Congress and President Obama have been debating. That means that physicians, hospitals and other providers could still submit claims and be paid, even if the budget impasse is not resolved.

However, salaries of federal employees and funding of Medicare Administrative Contractors that process Medicare claims are part of the appropriations process and would be affected by a shutdown, the OMB stated.

In the short term, CMS employees involved in claims payments could be deemed "essential," although they might not be paid for their work until the government reopens and funding is restored. Meanwhile, new enrollments into Medicare would not be processed.

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

Read the NPR report on federal spending.

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

-Federal Shutdown Likely Saturday Due to Budget Impasse

-Federal Shutdown Becoming Likely With 10 Days to Go

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

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