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FAQ: How Government Shutdown Affects Your Health

WebMD Answers Your Health Questions About Government Shutdown

Which health services will continue? Which won't? continued...

The Veterans Administration is a major source of government supported health care. Here's how the shutdown affects the VA:

  • All VA clinics and medical facilities will remain open, including prescription services.
  • No new Educational and Vocational Rehabilitation benefit claims will be accepted.
  • The Board of Veterans Appeals will be closed.
  • There will be no new VA hiring, staffing, or training.
  • The National Cemetery Administration will slow down military burials and will not process applications for Presidential Memorial Certificates.

 Other non-HHS health services affected by the government shutdown include:

  • USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service: Meat, poultry, and egg inspections will continue.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission: The CPSC staff will be reduced from 575 employees to 23 employees. "Recalls in the works, related to imminent risk to consumers, would continue," CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson tells WebMD. "New cases that come in, that are in the imminent risk situation, would be carried out by [the 23] excepted employees." The CPSC web site will stay active and the CPSC hotline for reporting unsafe products will remain open.
  • Public information: Nearly all public information offices will be closed or severely cut back.


If I don’t receive any government financial support, will this affect me in any way? Will it impact the way we go to the doctor or fill our prescriptions?

Probably not. However, closing of most of the FDA means that there will be less drug-safety oversight. Cutbacks at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mean the popular CMS hotline will have longer wait times, and investigations of Medicare/Medicaid fraud will be suspended.

I'm a dialysis patient; how will this affect me? Does this shutdown include Medicare dialysis places?

Dialysis is a life-saving medical procedure. Dialysis centers will not be closed, and patients whose dialysis is supported by Medicare will continue to receive services.

I am on my (late) husband's government health insurance (he was a government employee). If the government shuts down, will my health insurance?

Government health insurance will remain in effect.

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