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Thousands of health workers furloughed as US government shuts down

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 03 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5986
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

The US government went into partial shutdown on Tuesday 1 October after the US Congress failed to pass a budget measure needed to keep the government running in the new fiscal year.

The shutdown became inevitable Monday night after the US Senate, in a straight party line vote, rejected a stopgap appropriation measure passed by the Republican dominated House of Representatives earlier in the day that included a provision that would delay implementation of a key element of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate, which requires that all Americans obtain health insurance.

House Republicans, spurred on by their supporters’ fervent opposition to the 2010 healthcare reform law, have sought more than 40 times to repeal, defund, or delay the act.

“Our message to the United States Senate is real simple: the American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare,” said John Boehner, the speaker of the House and an Ohio Republican.

Earlier versions of budget resolutions passed by the House, which were also immediately rejected by the Senate, included language that would have stripped all funding for the healthcare reform law or delayed its implementation by one year.

Senate Democrats have insisted that they would not pass any measure, and President Barack Obama has said that he would veto …

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