02-19-2017  8:42 am      •     



Obamacare would keep running even in a government shutdown, a new congressional report suggests.

The new health care law draws funding from sources that are not subject to the congressional budget process, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Also, the revenue collected under Obamacare is considered to be part of a category that ensures the "safety of human life or the protection of property," which makes it immune to government shutdowns, the report said.

The report is significant because Republican lawmakers have been talking about opposing any measure to keep government running, if it means also funding Obamacare.

The current bill funding the government runs out on Sept. 30.

The expectation is that Congress will do what it has done in recent years: pass a temporary funding bill by Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1, the first day of fiscal 2014.

Some Republicans are demanding that the 2014 budget withhold funding for Obamacare. The Senate and President Obama would not agree to such a budget, which could lead to a government shutdown.

"We have the potential to show real leadership -- and stand together and actually defund (Obamacare)," said Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. "Republicans will be blamed for a government shutdown. . . but I think (the House) should fund the entirety of the federal government -- except Obamacare."

However, the congressional report underscores that shutting down the government will do little to stop Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, with the goal of expanding health care coverage and affordability to millions by various mechanisms, including subsidies, mandates and setting up health care exchanges for the uninsured.

Obamacare has lately been in the spotlight, as it gets closer to taking full effect. States are setting up health exchanges for people to buy insurance. The individual mandate, which requires taxpayers to buy insurance or pay a government fine, takes effect Jan. 1. The mandate forcing employers was delayed by a year to 2015, allowing businesses more time to provide their workers with health insurance.

Not all Republicans want to shut down the federal government over Obamacare.

Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican said on Tuesday that while he wants to defund Obamacare, threatening a government shutdown isn't the best way to end Obamacare, citing the new congressional report.

"I praise my colleagues in what they're trying to do," Coburn said. "What we need to do is delay (Obamacare) and get it to a point where we can kill it."

President Obama on Tuesday criticized Republicans in Congress who would "hurt a fragile recovery by suggesting they wouldn't pay the very bills Congress rang up, and threaten to shut down the people's government if they can't shut down Obamacare."

--CNN's Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

 

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