Will the government shutdown affect your practice?

The government shutdown has many in the health care community concerned about the potential impact of government closure on federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, reports in the media have sowed confusion as to the scope and impact of the shutdown.

Most government spending – defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – has been approved for fiscal year 2019 (ending Sept. 30).So, it is very unlikely that the shutdown will have any impact on Medicare and Medicaid payments. The departments that are impacted have not had their full-year appropriations bills enacted, and are:

  • Agriculture
  • Commerce
  • Homeland Security
  • Financial Services
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • Interior
  • Justice
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • State
  • Transportation
  • Treasury

Although the Food and Drug Administration is part of Health and Human Services, its appropriations come under the Agriculture Appropriations Bill. So, new drug and device approvals are on hold as are Department of Agriculture food inspections. In addition, there is a very slight chance that if the shutdown continues after Jan. 24, it could trigger implementation of the sequestration law which could require Medicare cuts. However, the Office of Management and Budget has already stated it would not implement any Medicare cuts due to sequestration, at least not in the near future.

The bottom line is that Medicare and Medicaid should continue as usual. We hope this is helpful in reassuring you and your patients.

Advocacy Issue: 
Billing, Coding & Payments