Congress has until Saturday to prevent a government shutdown that would disrupt the U.S. economy and the lives of millions of Americans who work for the government or rely on federal services.
The Senate unveiled a bipartisan stopgap measure late Tuesday to keep offices funded through Nov. 17. But it is bogged down by controversy, with a small but growing number of Republicans in the House of Representatives threatening to oppose it over billions in additional funding for Ukraine. .
Against the backdrop of the increasing chaos, Biden warned Republican conservatives against their heavy-handed tactics. On Monday, he said funding the federal government is “one of the most fundamental fundamental responsibilities of Congress.”
A shutdown would mean potential hardship for a large number of Americans, from the military personnel and air traffic controllers who would be asked to work without pay, to some seven million people in the Women, Infants and Children program — including half of the babies born in the United States. the US – which the White House says could lose access to nutritional benefits.
However, there is good news for some, and that includes Medicare recipients. Major government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — members of a category known as “mandatory spending” — remain largely unaffected because Congress authorized spending on those programs indefinitely, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
“Medicare services would continue to operate largely as normal,” AARP’s Dena Bunis and Kenneth Terrell wrote in an article published this week. The longer a shutdown lasts, the more likely Medicare providers are to see a delay in payments.
For Medicare recipients with specific questions about how the shutdown will affect them, here’s what experts say is known.
I am on Medicare. Can I still access care during a closure?
Yes, according to the AARP. Even during a federal shutdown, Medicare members can still see their doctor, go to the hospital and fill prescriptions.
I need to sign up for Medicare soon. Can a lockdown stop me from doing this?
No, according to the AARP. Applications are still being submitted at ssav.gov and the Medicare hotline, 800-633-4227, continues to operate.
Open enrollment for Medicare begins on October 15. Could a shutdown mess things up?
According to the AARP, that shouldn’t be the case. “Even a prolonged closure is not expected to impact beneficiaries’ ability to review their plans and make any changes,” Bunis and Terrell wrote. That’s because programs that advise enrollees are administered by states.
What should I do if I lose my Medicare card during a shutdown?
Unfortunately, according to the AARP, you would be out of luck until the end of the shutdown. Why? Such cards are issued by the Social Security Administration, which says no cards will be issued during that time.
Associated Press writers Seung Min Kim, Kevin Freking and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.