The United States government shut down today as Congress failed to pass a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded until a new budget can be approved.
At the core of the budget battle is the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Republican-controlled House insists on adding provisions that delay the act to a continuing resolution, a proposition the Democrat-controlled Senate has rejected several times.
Government workers with jobs deemed nonessential will not be permitted to work until congress can pass new budget legislation.
Nonessential services include national parks and landmarks and the Smithsonian museums. This also includes the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which works with landowners to promote conservation.
A spokesperson for the office that serves the southwest quadrant of Kansas, including McPherson County, said contract payments will not be sent out as long as the shutdown is in effect. The service’s website has been temporarily shut down.
Essential services will continue as normal, though some may be delayed. Medicare and Medicaid will continue, and people will still receive disability and Social Security checks.
Cyril Russell, director of marketing at McPherson Hospital, said Medicare is funded for the short term, but beyond that, he doesn’t know what effect the shutdown will have on health care.
“There’s a lot of unknowns out there,” Russell said.
Russell said the Kansas Hospital Association keeps track of these kinds of things. The association did not immediately return phone calls.
Health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act opened as scheduled.
Those in the armed forces will still be paid, as will members of Congress.
Most routine food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration will stop, but it will still handle high-risk recalls, and meat inspection will continue.
Air traffic will continue, and active duty military personnel will stay on the job.
School lunch and food stamp programs will continue, though other food programs could come to a halt. The government will also be unable to back home loans.
Some analysts predict that if the shutdown lasts longer than a few days, it could have an impact on the economy. On average, government shutdowns have lasted about a week. The last shutdown in 1995 and 1996 lasted three weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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