How Does the Government Shutdown Affect Medicare
Have Medicare Service Been Affected by the Partial Government Shutdown?
The impact is very limited. Fortunately, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been funded through September 30th, 2019. Medicare Enrollment, which is processed through the Social Security Administration (SSA) has also been funded through September 30th, 2019.
The main impact from the shutdown will be that some staff at the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) that oversees the Medicare program have been deemed non-essential. Non-essential staff have been furloughed, which may slow down the processing of claims reimbursements and other payments.
If the Shutdown is Extended What Are the Long Term Impacts to Medicare?
Medicare, along with Medicaid and Social Security, are Mandatory government programs (as opposed to discretionary). The government is required to fund mandatory programs during a partial shutdown. The programs are automatically funded, according to predetermined formulas. Funding for these programs is generated by income taxes, payroll tax revenues and beneficiary premiums.
The largest impact to Medicare will be on the Medicare Fraud and Abuse Strike Force teams. These teams are focused on preventing fraud, waste and abuse of the Medicare program. These are considered discretionary resources and would likely suffer in the event of a prolonged shutdown.
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