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What the Government Shutdown Means for Your Health

One of the biggest topics right now is the government shutdown. As we continue through the longest shutdown in history, there has been a lot of talk of border walls and zoo closures, but what about other issues, particularly healthcare?

Some good news first - a majority of healthcare related bills were passed in the fall of last year, so there are no big obstacles for those who use Medicare/Medicaid/other federal funding for their care. This is also true of Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health, whose funding is solid through September.

Now here’s some of the bad news. One of the biggest healthcare related agencies to be affected is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but not how you might think. The most wide known responsibility of the FDA is the approval of new drugs for market and that sector of their operations is primary funded through application and service fees, leaving it running at the same rates as pre-shutdown. Good news for those waiting for new medications to hit the market.

However, another large responsibility of the FDA is food safety and inspections. Over the last few months, the country has dealt with numerous outbreaks of E. coli and listeria from foods like lettuce and meat. These outbreaks occurred with the FDA fully staffed, but what could happen with 41% of the FDA team on furlough?

As the government shutdown continues and focuses on other issues, keep in mind there are others to keep tabs on - keep checking back with us as we will update you with the latest.

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