Ilisa Halpern Paul, Managing Government Relations Director in the Washington, D.C. office, was quoted in a Modern Healthcare article, titled, “Government Shutdown Strains Patients, Providers.” 

The article discussed how federal lawmakers had made no progress on funding the government operations in the new fiscal year, and healthcare leaders pondered the effects of the budget impasse on patients, providers, researches and public health programs.

Because the shutdown is based on continuing appropriations, it’s likely to have negative consequences on programs and service that rely on discretional spending.  This includes funding for biomedical and clinical research at the National Institutes of Health and the seasonal influenza program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

“We are on the edge of cold and flu season.  For the CDC to not engage at this time, we could see outbreaks of the flu where we wouldn’t have had it,” Ilisa said.

She continued, “The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center will see existing patients, but it’s unclear if the agency will be able to process new patients.  Biomedical and clinical research need funding consistency, and can’t be turned on and off like a light switch.  The challenge is that no one knows—or can speculate—how two days or two weeks of a government shutdown could affect particular research endeavors, particularly if scientists are on the brink of discovery.”

Ilisa added, “That could be the difference between a cure and years more of suffering.  That is where I get worried.  For a lot of policymakers, the impact of their actions is going to be hard to see in the near term, and have long-term, adverse consequences.”