Could a government shutdown on Oct. 1 delay the rollout of Obamacare's new health-insurance exchanges? Not a chance, says a White House official.
Oct. 1 – just six days away – is a double deadline. The government will shut down if Congress doesn’t approve (and President Obama sign) new funding, and enrollment begins for the uninsured to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare.
But if the government shuts down, does that also delay implementation of Obamacare?
In a word, no, says David Simas, deputy senior adviser for communications at the White House.
“In terms of the outreach, we are good to go,” says Mr. Simas, speaking at a breakfast Wednesday sponsored by Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank in Washington.
“The marketplaces will be stood up,” he says, referring to the government-run online “exchanges” where people can shop for a plan and potentially qualify for a subsidy or even free coverage. “The folks on the ground are ready to go. The 8,000 community health centers are staffed up and ready to provide the guidance. The commercials on television are going to be ready to go, up and running.”
The ACA is funded mostly through multiyear and mandatory spending, so a failure to agree on annual appropriations wouldn’t touch its funding. But that hasn’t stopped opponents of the law from trying to kill off the program’s funds legislatively – and also reaching out to key constituencies, such as the Koch-brothers-funded Generation Opportunity campaign aimed at getting young adults to pay a fine rather than sign up for health insurance.