Government shutdown: Get up to speed in 20 questions



(CNN) — So what happens now that a shutdown is in place?
Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree on a spending plan for the fiscal year that started Tuesday as they wrangled over Obamacare, leaving federal coffers short.
Political effect of a government shutdown Media coverage of Obamacare, shutdown Obamacare: ‘Duct tape and chicken wire’ GOP Rep: Senate is ‘playing games’
Photos: The last government shutdown Photos: The last government shutdown
Here’s a quick Q&A to get you caught up on what happened and what to expect:
1. Why did the government shut down?
Congress has one key duty in the Constitution — pass spending bills that fund the government. If it doesn’t, most functions of government — from funding agencies to paying out small business loans and processing passport requests — grinds to a halt. But some services, like Social Security, air traffic control and active military pay, will continue to be funded. Oh, and Congress still gets paid, too.
2. Why does it have to pass a spending bill in the middle of the year?
It may be the middle of the calendar year, but the government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.
3. What was the holdup?
House Republicans insist any new spending bill include provisions to either defund, derail or otherwise chip away at Obamacare. Senate Democrats are just as insistent that it doesn’t.
4. How is Obamacare tied to the spending bill?
The health care law isn’t directly tied to funding the government, but it’s being used as a bargaining chip. A group of Republicans, led by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, believe the president’s signature domestic policy achievement is so bad for the country that it is worth disrupting government funding to undercut it.
5. What are some of the objections to Obamacare?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the actual name of the law, requires all Americans to have health insurance. Opponents say it’ll hurt employers and amounts to overreach by the federal government. Some have also criticized the medical device tax that’s part of the law, saying that by imposing such a tax, it’s basically sending jobs overseas.
6. What’s the Democrats’ defense?
They say the law will expand access to health care and help rein in the rising costs of coverage. Obamacare prevents those with pre-existing medical conditions from being denied health insurance, and proponents say those who have health insurance will no longer have to indirectly pay for those who show up in emergency rooms uninsured.
Fact check: The myths and realities of Obamacare
7. What happened with the spending bill over the weekend?
The Republican-dominated House passed two spending bill amendments Sunday morning — one that would delay Obamacare for a year and one that would repeal the Obamacare’s medical device tax. The bill went back to the Senate, where Democrats who control that chamber have consistently said any changes to Obamacare would be a deal-killer.
8. What happened Monday?
The Senate rejected the latest House proposal, prompting the House to approve another spending plan that would remove the Obamacare individual mandate. The Senate rejected that, too, setting the stage for a shutdown.
9. What happened overnight?
House members voted to reaffirm the anti-Obamacare amendments that Senate Democrats have said would be a deal-breaker. They also requested a conference with the Senate to work out their differences.
10. What will happen Tuesday?
The Senate will reconvene and will likely make a decision on the House’s offer to talk. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said late Monday night that he wouldn’t agree to such a meeting until the House presents a clean spending bill stripped of the amendments.
“We will not go to conference with a gun to our head,” he said.
11. Has this happened before?
Yes, this shutdown is the first since late 1995. That one lasted 21 days, into 1996.
12. How many government workers could be furloughed?
Most of the 3.3 million government workers are deemed “essential” — they’ll keep working. But more than 800,000 government employees will sit at home, according to a CNN analysis.
Many of the furloughed federal workers are supposed to be out of their offices within four hours of the start of business Tuesday.
13. What will this do to the economy?
Depends on how long it lasts. If it’s just a few days, the hit might not be severe. But the total economic impact is likely to be at least 10 times greater than the simple calculation of lost wages of federal workers, said Brian Kessler, economist with Moody’s Analytics. His firm estimates that a three- to four-week shutdown would cost the economy about $55 billion.
14. How will this affect me?
In ways big and small. The mail will continue to come. The military will continue to fight. And Social Security checks will continue to be paid.
But if you need a federal loan to buy a house, you’ll have to wait. If you want a gun permit or a passport, that won’t happen anytime soon.
15. Will a shutdown kill Obamacare?
No. Most of the money for Obamacare comes from new taxes and fees, as well as from cost cuts to other programs like Medicare and other types of funding that will continue despite the government shutdown.
16. Will the president get paid during a shutdown?
Yes. His salary — $400,000 — is considered mandatory spending. It won’t be affected.
17. What about House and Senate members?
They’ll keep drawing checks, too. The 27th Amendment prevents any Congress from changing its own pay.
18. What does John Q. Public think of all this?
A CNN/ORC International poll that came out Monday found that 46% will blame congressional Republicans if the government closes its doors, with 36% saying the president would be more responsible and 13% pointing fingers at both.
19. Isn’t there another matter — the debt ceiling?
Ah yes, that’s the next battle brewing. Remember that time when you maxed out your credit card? That’s what the debt limit is all about. The U.S. is on the verge of maxing out its $16.699 trillion credit card. And the president must ask Congress to raise the country’s credit limit.
But the debt ceiling debacle won’t come to a head until October 17. Perhaps it’s best to deal with one showdown at a time.
20. Can Congress agree on anything?
The House and Senate did agree on one thing. They finalized legislation Monday to keep paying troops in the event of a shutdown.

Obamacare



 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),[1] commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare,[2][3] is a United Statesfederal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act,[4] it represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the country’s healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[5]

The ACA aims to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government. It provides a number of mechanisms—including mandatessubsidies, andinsurance exchanges—intended to increase coverage and affordability.[6][7] The law also requires insurance companies to cover all applicants within new minimum standards and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.[8][9] Additional reforms aim to reduce costs and improve healthcare outcomes by shifting the system towards quality over quantity through increased competition, regulation, and incentives to streamline the delivery of healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the ACA will lower both future deficits[10] and Medicare spending.[11]

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the ACA in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. However, the Court held that states cannot be forced to participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion under penalty of losing their current Medicaid funding.[12][13][14] Since the ruling, the law and its implementation have continued to face challenges in Congress, in federal courts, and from some state governments.Read More

Health care

Health care (or healthcare) is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseaseillness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicineoptometrydentistrynursingpharmacyallied health, and other care providers. It refers to the work done in providing primary care, secondary care and tertiary care, as well as in public health.

Access to health care varies across countries, groups and individuals, largely influenced by social and economic conditions as well as the health policies in place. Countries and jurisdictions have different policies and plans in relation to the personal and population-based health care goals within their societies. Health care systems are organizations established to meet the health needs of target populations. Their exact configuration varies from country to country. In some countries and jurisdictions, health care planning is distributed among market participants, whereas in others planning is made more centrally among governments or other coordinating bodies. In all cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a well-functioning health care system requires a robust financing mechanism; a well-trained and adequately-paid workforce; reliable information on which to base decisions and policies; and well maintained facilities and logistics to deliver quality medicines and technologies.[1]

Health care can form a significant part of a country’s economy. In 2008, the health care industry consumed an average of 9.0 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) across the most developed OECD countries.[2] The United States (16.0%), France (11.2%), and Switzerland (10.7%) were the top three spenders.

Health care is conventionally regarded as an important determinant in promoting the general health and well-being of people around the world. An example of this is the worldwide eradication of smallpox in 1980—declared by the WHO as the first disease in human history to be completely eliminated by deliberate health care interventions.

Cost-effective Health Care Insurance for People with Pre-existing Conditions Now Possible with New ObamaCare Health Insurance Law

A cost-effective health care insurance for people with pre existing conditions is now possible with the new ObamaCare health Insurance law. However, the ObamaCare reform is to take effect on January , 2014.

Beginning in 2014, the ObamaCare health care law will forbid insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing medical condition from the guaranteed insurance coverage. This aims to force all American citizens to buy health insurance. While the new mandate is not yet in effect until 2014, the law has decided to set up PCIP or the pre-existing conditions insurance plan. This is to cover all Americans with pre existing conditions from the year 2010-2014. Reportedly, the Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plan was actually allocated with $5 billion for the said time frame.

To date, health plans and insurance companies’ best interests is to exclude individuals with pre-existing conditions due to financial concern. Pre-existing conditions pertain to those serious health problems such as high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease and cancer. Often, health plans deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions as these can cost them more money or they often impose a waiting period prior to the start of the insurance coverage. They also usually charge higher premiums. Because of this, many can’t afford health insurance. In this connection, ObamaCare aims to help individuals who can’t afford healthcare support with its new mandate.

Starting January 1, 2014, there will be affordable medical insurance premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. This is very much beneficial for those who are not capable of affording health insurance today and those who are declined by some health insurance companies due to their pre-existing conditions.

The new healthcare law as well as pre-existing conditions aims to give affordable health insurance premiums and low rates for individuals and small business plans. The government is taking action in lowering the monthly premiums as well as the out-of-the-pocket expenses for healthcare insurance. It is a fact that looking for the right insurance for individuals and their family is a challenging task. This usually requires an extensive research and time. Thus, for those with pre-existing conditions, looking for an affordable insurance is still possible. With the new legislation, everyone will be guaranteed with affordable healthcare coverage.

 

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For more information about the ObamaCare new health insurance law, visit the site http://healthcareandhealthinsurance.com/.

 

Cost-effective Health Care Insurance for People with Pre-existing Conditions Now Possible with New ObamaCare Health Insurance Law