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What a shutdown could mean for health agencies
April 8th, 2011
04:54 PM ET

What a shutdown could mean for health agencies

Late Friday afternoon the United States budget standoff continued, with the threat of a partial government shutdown still looming (share your shutdown worries here).

If the government shuts down, here's what it will mean for three key agencies that affect your health:

National Institutes of Health
New studies won't start up at the NIH, a Department of Health and Human Services official said. That includes the seven new National Institutes of Health studies scheduled to begin next week. Four of those studies involve children, two of which are in children with cancer.

The NIH Clinical Center will not enroll new patients in the 1,443 studies now under way, an HHS official said. Researchers working on some 5,000 biomedical experiments, not in a clinical environment, will be ordered to halt their work. The scientific work will be delayed, which "would ultimately slow scientific progress," an HHS official said.

But the NIH Clinical Center will continue to care for patients at the hospital who are already enrolled in clinical trials, the official said.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
No new studies will begin at the CDC, either. The CDC's regular publishing of scientific findings, studies and other reports could be delayed or suspended altogether, a spokesman with the Department of Health and Human Services said. Any of the grantees who receive CDC funding, such as universities and nonprofits, will stop receiving those funds, affecting their ability to continue programs, such as initiatives for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and anti-smoking campaigns

A furlough could also impact the CDC's ability to respond to consultations for doctors and state and local health departments, who can currently call for help with diagnostics and send samples of various conditions. If states report information about a potential outbreak, the CDC may be slow in its ability to receive and process the information, which could result in a delay to detect an outbreak.

But programs that pertain to the safety of human life will not feel the affects of a government shutdown, an HHS spokesman said. Programs with funds authorized by law, such as immunization programs for children, will not be impacted. Ongoing outbreak investigations will continue regardless, and any scientific studies currently going on in the lab that would be lost otherwise will continue.

"We [CDC] should be able to continue to protect health at a scaled down level, but our ability to promote health would be severely impacted," he said.

Food and Drug Administration

Food and drug inspections will be severely restricted if the government ceases to be funded, an official told CNNMoney. Inspections of drug manufacturing plants and food processing facilities will be conducted on a priority basis according to risk. And, in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak or other emergency, the FDA will be able to call furloughed staff into work.

Here's more on the FDA from CNNMoney.

CNN's Miriam Falco and John Bonifield contributed to this report.


soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Travis

    that a load of bs

    April 8, 2011 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MikefromWV

      Please back up your comment with facts. Otherwise, please refrain from making comments that serve no purpose other than to try and inflame emotions on a highly charged subject.

      April 9, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      MikefromWV: Obviously he has no facts and no legitimate counter argument. They never do.

      April 10, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
  2. Tammy

    Our military is what MATTERS here not this nonsense! I am literally offended that our government would even consider using our troops as their poker chip! Our military are the ones who PROTECT your freedom so you can sit up in DC and bicker! What an absolute atrocity!! I am ashamed to be an american civilian citizen today. Never did i think id ever feel that way.

    April 8, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ken in NC

      I never thought I would see the day that our troops were used as "Human Shields" either but I guess the only thing important to a politician is his/her re-election. The only thing that matters to me now is insuring that none of those in Congress get my vote in 2012. Freshmen members of Congress only. Any Congressional candidate that ask for my vote will get this response. "Yes, I will give you my vote as soon as I forget that you tried to use our troops like poker chips in 2011."

      April 8, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      With all due respect to the military (my father was a 20-year Army veteran who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam), our military hasn't actually be defending our freedom since WWII. Since then they've mostly be projecting our power around the world.

      April 10, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
  3. Dick Hertz

    Good reading. http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2011/apr/most-illegal-immigrant-families-collect-welfare

    April 8, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Man

      There is a mbiole diagnositic unit in my area – care closer to home scenario. However, there are many instances where a consultation is carried out in one area [ close to home] but the results are given at a different location [ far away from home]. This is the problem – a quick fix wihout any foresight to ongoing needs. I also know of cases where a GP refers to ICATS – the patient travels "outside" the area for asessment , to be told a hospital appointment is necessary and they are re-referred back to the local hospital for a hearing aid. . It was quite clear that a hearing aid was the treatment required, so why follow this pathway. Time wasted and patient left confused and frustrated

      January 31, 2012 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
    • riekmraiusd

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      February 3, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • oejhfbj

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      February 6, 2012 at 04:17 | Report abuse |
  4. Luke in Quincy IL

    I think that if Bill Gates and Warren Buffet agreed to pay for the cost of Planned Parent Hood and the other arguementative issues at hand then we could avoid this whole govenment shutdown. Come on now it is time for someone to step up and put an end to this mess.

    April 8, 2011 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. recie

    I believe hold heartily that Obama,and congress should take a pay cut stop going on vac.and put that extra $ in the funds y should the US ppl suffer any longer the US needs to take care of there own and remember we put them in office and we the ppl can that them out they can learn how it is in the real world not knowing if we will get paid have a home for r families I say f the congress and Obama

    April 8, 2011 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      This is just silly. I find it ironic that resist a slight increase in the tax rate for incomes over $250K because that's not "high income," but then people think $175K is overpaid to run the country. Policy should not be guided by frustration.

      April 10, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  6. AGuest9

    Wow, it's incredible! I never thought I would hear people say, Yep! Let them little kids with cancer die because someone else's war is more important! Monsters...

    April 8, 2011 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Edge

    The only people to blame is US not you or the next person it's on US .have a wonderful weekend

    April 8, 2011 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. susan

    I don't understand why the "Planned Parenthood" is such a problem. Obamacare is supposed to cover health problems–we're paying dearly for that. In fact, I don't know why Obamacare was necessary. Anyone without health insurance could get health care under medicaid...many times better care than those with insurance. I know this from experience. Besides, women should be educated enough to provide their own family planning. I believe we as a nation have gotten to the point that many people feel the government should take care of all their needs including their children. It seems the working people are getting outnumbered by the freeloaders. Don't know how long we can keep providing their needs.

    April 8, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • collegemom

      I do not believe that American citizens should be paying for the abortions of women that don't want babies. There are ways to stop that from happening. Medicare was designed to provide for the elderly population not for everyone that does not want to work. We need welfare reform. Our country is in very sad shape and no thanks to a government that feels that their needs out weigh the needs of the people their are to represent.

      April 9, 2011 at 04:02 | Report abuse |
    • Matin

      Please tell me how EVERYONE who doesn't have insurance can get on Medicaid. You seem to be forgetting all of the people who work for a living, just getting by, making just a bit too much money to meet the low-income requirement to get on Medicare. Maybe they should quit their jobs so they can get free health care? And if you "know from experience", maybe you were one of those "freeloaders" at one time too? And it's not a question of "women being educated enough" it's whether they have access. Would you rather they continue to have children and raise another generation of welfare users or pay a lttle bit now so they can avoid unwanted pregnancies? Stop being so short-sighted.

      April 9, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      You are obviously clueless about so many things. It's hard to imagine how any could be that uninformed and misinformed.

      April 10, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
  9. This is not news

    This story means nothing...The government is still open.

    April 9, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Maggie

    I just read a medical book I really enjoyed, "Stories from the Emergency Department", about real-life ER stories and amazing patients and nurses. Really enjoyable book.

    April 9, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Minerva

    "Anyone without health insurance could get health care under medicaid...many times better care than those with insurance. "

    Totally and compeletly untrue. Trust me, I was turned down.

    April 9, 2011 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kay

    And aren't we all so quick to forget about those in college, or those with disabilities, or other illnesses/diseases who CAN'T work because the few jobs they can do aren't available right now. What I'd give to earn my living and have things and achievements to call my own! And even with a disability, I STILL can't get health care. I lose it when I turn 21 (I suppose my ailments will magically disappear, or my non-involved below-poverty parents can spot me?) and it'll take years of expensive court cases to get it back. I'm not an exception – my age group is HIGHLY ingnored on this front. We're young, but we're human. We get sick, we get cancer, and we're as likely (if not more) to get into car accidents. And with most of our parents hardly making their own bills, we have no one to back us up. We're just starting, we got thrown into this mess with little to no savings, jobs are being taken by adults with more experience or young adults who aren't in college and don't have class restrictions. We all grew up dreaming of college and a better future and too few are making it through. Possible? Of course, there are always exceptions and I'm sure plenty will give me the "I was a single parent with two jobs, and we didn't have the internet!" story. That's awesome, and I commend you, but it doesn't eliminate OUR struggles. I guess the government views us similar to how they see the elderly – maybe they'll survive, and if they don't? Well, that's one less person to worry about.

    Until of course everyone whines that we're on welfare. Hmm, what a cycle.

    April 10, 2011 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." – John Kenneth Galbraith

      The strategy here is basically to claim there is no problem to solve. They make a variety of false, exaggerated, or misleading claims to suggest the problem isn't nearly as big as it's portrayed to be and that for the few who do have a legitimate problem there are already solutions available. No one who has spend time studying these issues would take these people seriously.

      April 10, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
  13. Tiff

    SUSAN: not all people who are unable to get health insurance can get on medicaid. I was told by DHS that I must either have kids or be pregnant. I'm a 29 yr old woman with epilepsy. Without my $1500/mo meds I will most likely die. If my husband and I accidently get pregnant it will kill me. I lost my job last year because the company closed. Even with a B.S. in finance and great work experience I'm still unable to find a job. I am NOT a freeloader, I have worked full time since I was 15 yrs old.

    April 10, 2011 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tiff

    to add on... my COBRA coverage has run out. I have not applied for disability because I WANT to work. Eventhough my choice of positions may be limited, ie. can't be too far away due to driving restriction, and I live in a very rural area that does not offer many positins. I still apply everyday to anything I can find. We are also unable to get ins. through my husband. He is self employed in the construction industry which is also struggling, he works 14 hrs a day 6 days a week just for us to make ends meet.

    April 10, 2011 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tiff

    To sum up... I cannot get health ins. The only way for me to get medicaid is to get pregnant which will most likely kill me. But thanks to Planned Parenthood my husband and I have access to affordable contraception. So Susan, you seem to have all the answers, any suggestions on how I can pay for the $1500 of meds & many Drs visits? Just a word of advice... don't call the unemployed freeloaders, very insulting. Most have never asked for or received any welfare and are doing everything possible to get a job.

    April 10, 2011 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. q. Hayett

    IT amazes me that any middle class person would side with the republicans...do you get a bonus for failing at your job? Lady u are as out of touch with the real world as our representative politicians. some people love people and use things...others love things and use people. who are you?

    April 10, 2011 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ted

    Keep Going Trump.!!!...We WANT the TRUTH....Obama has spent $ 2 Million on legal fees...Hiding All his records...Everyone Smells a Skunk..Wish I could help...For Enough Money..Someone in Hawaii..State Dept...Schools WILL TALK... If Trump proves this ..he should be elected President...

    April 10, 2011 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      Birthers are idiots, and that would include you. Obama hasn't spent a dime "hiding" his records. His records are protected by privacy laws exactly like everyone else's. Obama has produced a valid birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, the only one they've issued since 2001, and it's been confirmed as authentic by the state of Hawaii. Furthermore, there isn't a shred of a reason to believe he *wasn't* born in Hawaii. The real Birther message: "Republicans have nothing to sell."

      Message received, loud and clear. Keep it up. It's a message everyone needs to hear.

      April 10, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      Please forgive my etmatpt at composition and spelling, I completed sixed grade. At 76 and 88 years old. we would like to be more objective however our in-dependence or self sufficency is not to be as medical cost has become our number one passion. This past Summer on top escalating cost, we landed in the donut hole now paying hugh sums for medicene were it not for food stamps and much charity, we would have to choose food, lights, water, taxes, goodwill clothes to costly. We, have always worked hard for low salaries as we were in likeness' but not like' those of successful kinship. My Husband has bone cancer, glaucoma and macaluar degeneration. My problems are heart and lungs, I am on 24 hour oxygen.A number of years ago, while filling forms for a big insurance company, we learned that, from our payment into Medicare, 1/3 went to Doctors/Hospitals, 1/3 to the Insurance company and 1/3 to Medicare, that most of the money was spent on paperwork. We, have not kept track of ammounts of money nor would we ever be able to acquire just how much money is borrowed/taken from Medicare, for goodness only know what. As time passed several aspects of cutting cost' by the Medical Pros became clear, such as, Limited hospitalization admission and length of stay, Free samples handed out for years at a time, the Doctor refuseing to change the Rx, even on a trial basis with the patient showing resulted evidence, complete change of Doctors caused big changes to less than half the number of Rxs and a poor functoning small heart lobe. Since changing to a different medical team, I am doing so much better, my swollen, sore feet, is no more, my lung Doctor has me off oxygen two hours a day and a agreeable once a day puffer that doesn't cramp my body. The new team does not accept free samples, and does not pose in expensive new clothes, they mostly wear white coats. I felt really comfortable with them.Appreciate and like you comments. Thank You, You lit a fireMary:Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing your medical experiences. Let's hope there are enough Senators who haven't sold out to the unregulated Health Care Industry that we get meaningful reform. Ed Lee

      March 6, 2012 at 01:11 | Report abuse |
  18. Larry

    Rising health care costs are the biggest single driver of increased government spending, and a huge cost to the private sector as well, but no one on either side of the aisle is even talking about serious reforms to our health care system to bring down health care spending.

    Instead, the Republican strategy to lower spending is to buy less care for the elderly and poor from our overly complex, hugely inefficient system that produces mediocre health care outcomes at best compared to the best systems, which also cost a lot less.

    April 10, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. msmithmd

    So awesome that CNN still has this article featured on their homepage 48 hours after the potential shutdown was averted. Way to go, that's some crack reporting.

    April 10, 2011 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Thinquer

    Most of us can be healthy if forced to. The time is now. Stop relying on the govt to pay for your meds when all you need is good nutrition and exercize. This will leave the few people who really DO need govt assistance, and the govt may indeed help them with whatever money is not cut. Everyone else ... take care of your own darn health by the common sense your were born with, (or get a good book on nutrition and teach yourself) And WALK to the library to get it.

    April 10, 2011 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Kay

    @Larry: I could NOT have put it better myself. Thank you very much for your comment! I'm sharing that quote immediately. I'm so glad no one responded to me with the vicious, unnecessary negativity that is all too common these days. Disagree, I can handle, but the way folk retaliate against different opinions (or truths they care not to understand) is disturbing anymore.

    April 13, 2011 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.