House threatens to defund ACA, but Senate and White House say they will block measure

Even if there's a government shutdown, ACA implementation expected to continue

The House on Friday is scheduled to vote on a continuing resolution that would fund the government through Dec. 15 and eliminate funding for the Affordable Care Act. The resolution is expected to pass in the House, which on Thursday voted 230-192 to approve a rule governing debate of the legislation.

Members of Congress are working to reach an agreement on a stopgap spending measure that will keep the government funded through mid-December. If they do not approve a measure by Sept. 30 parts of the government will shut down.

However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said his chamber will remove any language that defunds the reform law, and White House officials said President Obama would veto any government spending bill that cuts ACA funding.

According to industry analysts, GOP-led attempts to halt ACA implementation by shutting down the government may not actually achieve their goal. A July report from the Congressional Research Service suggested that the law's implementation would largely continue, even during a shutdown, because the funds necessary for the insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and other major provisions qualify as "mandatory" government spending, which would not be affected by a shutdown (Cowan, Reuters, 9/19; Bresnahan, Politico, 9/19; Lunney, Government Executive, 9/19; Klein/Soltas, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 9/20).


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