Beyond whatever lawn Rep. Steve King currently finds himself rolling around on, here are a few of the more health-critical effects of temporarily not having a government.
Although the current patients and outpatients at the NIH Clinical Center would continue receiving care during the shutdown, the center would not be able to accept new patients or enroll any patients in any of the more than 1,430 studies or nearly 500 clinical trials it is conducting.This includes cancer patients.
Speaking Sept. 30 at the Association of American Cancer Institutes annual meeting, Ms. Sebelius said it looked increasingly likely that Congress would fail to reach a federal budget agreement and that the government would be shut down Oct. 1.Continue below the fold to see who else the government shutdown is affecting.
With a shutdown, "entrance to new [federally funded] clinical trials will stop right away," she said.
The CDC "will continue minimal support to protect the health and well-being of U.S. citizens here and abroad through a significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples, and maintaining the agency's 24/7 emergency operations center," according to an HHS document. The agency will retain just 4,071 of its staff of 12,825 people. It will not be able to monitor current flu activity, or link outbreak information across states.Food grants to needy pregnant mothers will dwindle, then cease. So will Head Start programs.
During the shutdown, the Department of Agriculture will stop supporting the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which helps pregnant women and new moms buy healthy food and provides nutritional information and health care referrals to those who need it. The program aids some 9 million Americans.The FDA will cease multiple food safety programs.
That won't hit immediately. The USDA estimates that most states have funds and authority to continue their programs for "a week or so," but they'll "likely be unable to sustain operations for a longer period. […]
There are some 1,600 Head Start programs around the country providing education, health, nutrition and other services to roughly 1 million low-income children and their families. Those will slowly begin closing during a shutdown.
FDA will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities. FDA will also have to cease safety activities such as routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs (e.g., food contact substances, infant formula), and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.While I am touched that certain people are being unfairly kept distant from this nation's war monuments and certain sports events are not going to take place, it would be lovely if poor children, pregnant mothers and cancer patients got the same personalized attention from the congressmen so proud of the current shutdown. It might also be nice to continue to send out paychecks to all the workers who are currently being asked to work without pay while Congress writhes about in its various attempts to extract some concession, any concession for paying them, but I realize that it is a bridge too far. After all, the panda cam is shut down and veterans are not able to visit their memorials. Truly, that is more important than safeguarding the health of the nation—which, after all, is exactly the offense that drove the House to close government in the first place.
My advice to the children and to the cancer patients: head to the World War II Memorial. That is where the congressmen and the press are gathering. Stand at the monument, and perhaps someone will notice you.