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Medical care 'on hold' for government workers affected by shutdown

Federal government employees and contracted employees affected by the government shutdown are delaying medical appointments, requesting help through online fundraisers and considering new careers as they collect medical bills without receiving pay, Time reports.

Corey Myllenbeck, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey, has an 8-month-old daughter who has already had three surgeries. Bills for her heart surgery started coming before the shutdown began Dec. 22.

The family owes about $4,800 in medical bills. They asked for $1,500 on a GoFundMe page to cover the minimum payment for the surgery, but the fundraiser has only earned a little over $100.

"We are more or less putting those appointments off," Mr. Myllenbeck said. As he continues to go without pay, he has been applying for new jobs and is open to leaving his current position if he finds another job. "I can't go through another shutdown. No matter what, I'm looking for a new job. If it goes longer than mid-February, I can't. There's just no way," he said.

Michelle Maples, whose wife is a Department of Homeland Security employee working without pay, said she is putting off medical appointments. When the shutdown began, Ms. Maples told Time she was recovering from heart surgery and could not work.

Now, she is waiting for the shutdown to end to have surgery for lung cancer, along with blood and fluid infusions.

"My medical care is on hold," she said. "The surgery to remove the lung cancer is on hold."

Although President Donald Trump signed a bill that will guarantee back pay for furloughed federal workers, about 800,000 federal employees and potentially millions of contractors affected by the shutdown are expected to miss their second paycheck.

More articles on patient flow: 
Minnesota's small towns suffer when rural hospitals stop delivering babies
Patient dies after shooting himself at Virginia hospital
New Jersey health system speeds appointments for furloughed federal workers

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